Unintended gender consequences: EU politics and politics in practice

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Politics

Abstract

This project will build a research partnership between leading scholars in EU gender politics at a number of European and North American institutions. It will bring together individual researchers and centres of excellence on the study of gender and politics, such as the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen's University Belfast. Part of the funding is also targeted at early career researchers, particularly postgraduate students, to enable them to contribute to the work of the international partnership and introducing them to key figures in their field of research.

The aim of the network is to support critical work in the field of gender and EU politics. The funding will enable us to build on the initial findings in a forthcoming special issue of Women's Studies International Forum, thus evaluating the unintended gender consequences of European policies traditionally portrayed as "gender neutral" or "gender free". Several recent studies have examined how, and to what extent EU policy contributes to shifts in national gender regimes, gender policy and gender relations. These studies consider the changes in national policy and the manner in which these may have been precipitated by European policy shifts and/or activism in other member states or at the EU level. This network will contribute to ongoing discussions about the value and impact of gender mainstreaming as a policy tool. It will establish contact with key practitioners and seek to raise awareness of institutional drivers that limit the impact of gender policies at the European and national level.

The network will engage both in a theoretical exploration of intended and unintended consequences, therefore establishing an analytical framework for the comparison of different policy areas. Increasing attention is being paid to unintended consequences or outcomes of key policies. An example of this new focus is the Fawcett Society's case against the UK Coalition Government in 2010. The work conducted in this area highlights the need for a paradigm shift in policy analysis looking at the constraints and opportunities available to practitioners to explore and take account of all the possible repercussion of a particular policy approach. Equally the work to be undertaken by the network will draw attention to the measures that can be utilised in order to minimise the gendered impact of key policy areas such as economic and fiscal policy as well as external relations. The work to be undertaken by our network is a critical assessment of the 'unintended' or indirect consequences of European policy on domestic gender regimes and gender relations. We examine this in policy areas which are generally believed to fall outside 'women's policy'. This critical evaluation will thus enable knowledge transfer in the area of gender mainstreaming and the development of empirical projects exploring the implementation of these principles in a variety of other policy areas.

The research network will include one workshop, two network management meetings to evaluate progress of individual research projects (UACES 2012 and 2013), an application for a workshop at ECPR joint sessions (2013), and an end of project Conference in 2014. The ultimate objective of the consortium is to facilitate, through the promotion of inter-disciplinary knowledge exchange, the development of original large grant applications evaluating recent EU policy developments post-Lisbon.

Planned Impact

The work carried out by the network provides a unique opportunity to change the way that policy markers and activists think about the relative position of gender norms, as well as equality between men and women in the policy cycle.

In relation to the impact of the work to be carried out by the network we expect the following:

Academic Impact: It will lead to a shift in the current approaches and debates on gender, and equality of opportunities. It will also help to mainstream gender approaches within the disciplines included in the network, such as law, political studies and international relation. The application of gender lenses to the analysis of mainstream policies - traditionally seen as gender neutral or gender free - will enable the members of the network to publish in high impact mainstream journals.

Policy Impact: The network is a great opportunity for leading scholars in the field to engage with practitioners. Of particular relevance to the work conducted here are the following: the European Gender Institute; the Equality and Human Rights Commission; European Commission; Fawcett Society; the European Policy Centre. In order to maximise the impact of the Network, we propose to set up a website attached to the School of Politics (University of Surrey) which will include policy briefings and working papers. Practitioners will also be involved in the workshops as delegates and keynote speakers.

Publications

10 25 50

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Allwood G (2013) Unintended consequences of EU policies: Reintegrating gender in European studies in Women's Studies International Forum

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Allwood, G (2014) Gender Mainstreaming and EU Climate Change Policy in European Integration online Papers

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Debusscher, P (2014) Gender Mainstreaming on the Ground? The Case of EU Development Aid towards Rwanda in European Integration online Papers

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Earles K (2013) Reprint of: The gendered consequences of the European Union's pensions policy in Women's Studies International Forum

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Guerrina R (2018) Transforming CSDP? Feminist Triangles and Gender Regimes CSDP and Gender Regimes in JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies

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Guerrina R (2016) Strategic Silences in the Brexit Debate in Journal of Contemporary European Research

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Guerrina, R (2014) Gender, Ideology and the Political Economy of Austerity in Journal of Social Politics

 
Description The work conducted under the auspices of this network highlights the weakness of mainstreaming as a policy tool and strategy for promoting gender equality. The EU's ambition to include a gender dimension to all policy areas is largely undermined by the inability of key institutions to assess the gendered impact of key policy decisions. Over the last twenty years, gender mainstreaming has become a catchphrase for the promotion of the European gender regime however, it has not generated a detailed assessment of the asymmetrical impact of key policy decision on different social groups (in this case men and women) .

Much of the work produced as part of this network draws attention to the long term impact of institutional myopia on social cohesion and equality as core values of the EU. Evaluating (or even exposing) the unintended gender consequences of key policies has been a challenging task, as it is often difficult to disentangle intentionality from institutional culture and path dependency. However, the journey taken by the members of the network thanks to the ESRC funding allowed us to assess the effectiveness of core values - e.g. quality and gender mainstreaming - in promoting the principle of gender equality and justice across policy spheres.

Over the course of the two years, the network has therefore moved from trying to identify unintended gender consequences to the development of a Feminist European Union Studies research agenda that will allow us to assess critically current and future trajectories from a gender perspective.
Exploitation Route Over the last two years, this collaborative network has expanded significantly. We have therefore been able to gain valuable insights into a wide range of policy initiatives, much greater than anticipated at the beginning of the project. The theoretical framework underpinning the work of the network is set out in the Special Issue of Women's Studies International Forum, and therefore provides a useful contribution to current debates about the EU as a gender actor. In this respect, the wider academic community is the main beneficiary of the work produced by the network.

In addition to actively shaping debates about the potential of the EU to act as a gender actor in the future, we have developed close links with civil society organisations, e.g. the National Alliance of Women's Organisations and Made Equal.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.surrey.ac.uk/cronem/project_and_outreach/gender_network/
 
Description The main impact of this Research Network has been to consolidate links with practitioners, e.g. NGOS and party groups. Members of the network have been actively engaging with dissemination campaigns on the following issues: 1. Impact of crisis on gender structures and hierarchies; 2. Role of the EU in promoting equality between men and women. The funding allowed the network to invite members of civil society organisations, MPs and MEP candidates to workshops and events, thus promoting a dialogue about academics and practitioners about the best way forward for this research agenda.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description ESRC UK in a Changing European Commissioning Grant
Amount £9,950 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 02/2017
 
Description Analysing the Unintended Gender Consequences of Brexit 
Organisation The Fawcett Society
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Outreach and dissemination activities. Presented the findings of recent and ongoing research.
Collaborator Contribution Supported the organisation and facilitated links with practitioners.
Impact Debate during the EU referendum campaign Participation in high level discussions.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Gender EU Policy 
Organisation York University Toronto
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Funded travel, accommodation, and subsistence for a number of network members
Collaborator Contribution Presented papers Workpackages for SSHRC grant submission (2012) led by Dr Heather MacRae (York University, Canada)
Impact SSHRC Grant Application in 2012, 2013, and 2014
Start Year 2011
 
Description How Brexit might affect British women 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview with national newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/how-a-brexit-might-affect-british-women-a3261126.htm...
 
Description Keynote at Euromed Feminist initiative confererence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote at Workshop on post-conflict constitutional agreements (Beirut, 2016)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Keynote at Fabian Conference on Europe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was an important dissemination opportunity for the work of the network. The Fabians' Europe Conference on the theme of 'Can Europe Deliver its Progressive Ambitions?'; was an important opportunity to disseminate the work of the network on the unintended gender consequences of national and European policies. In the context of a possible in-out referendum, it also provided an opportunity to present the case for the EU as a gender actor to a non-academic audience.

The plenary panel included: Roberta Guerrina (University of Surrey); Natalie Bennett (Leader, The Green Party); Marcus Roberts (Deputy General Secretary, Fabian Society); Mary Honeyball MEP

Dr. Guerrina's contact with practitioners working in promoting a more cohesive European social policy opens opportunities for dialogue about the gendered nature of current policy approaches.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Keynote at Labour Party Conference fringe event by the Fabians' Women Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The roundtable provided a springboard for detailed discussion about the gendered nature of austerity with serving members of Parliament and the European Parliament.

After this talk I was invited to present at the Fabians' Europe Conference. This conference was also attended by the Shadow Foreign Secretary at the time Douglas Alexander
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Keynote at NAWO Young Women Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was part of NAWO's awareness raising campaign about the importance of politics for young women. The event was an important engagement activity that led to the production of a young women's manifesto for Europe

NAWO submitted the Young Women Manifesto for Europe to the European Women's Lobby
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Keynote at NAWO event: Why Gender Should be on Europe's Agenda 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk was part if a high level roundtable with Members if the European Parliament and candidates for the European Parliament at the 2014 elections. The event included the following speakers:
Mary Honeyball MEP
Catherine Bearder MEP
Rebecca Taylor MEP
Dr Roberta Guerrina
Sanchia Alasia, MEP Candidate for the 2014 European Parliament Serap Altinisik, European Women's Lobby

The event consolidated the network's relationship with NAWO, thus providing additional opportunities for impact and engagement
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Keynote at NAWO young Women Manifesto for Europe Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk generated significant discussions about the importance of listening to young women's concerns about citizenship and political engagement. The workshop produced a young women's manifesto for Europe

The participation in the workshop is part of a well established collaboration with NAWO. The work presented provides part of the wider framework for NAWO's work nationally and as part of the European Women's Lobby
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Presentation at NAWO's 'What can the European Union do for you? Understanding and influencing European Parliament' event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk provided a springboard for a dialogue with the European Women's Libby about the position if women in European Politics and the overall quality of women's political representation in Europe.

After the workshop audience members demonstrated a better understanding of EU politics and thus would be more likely to engage in political processes.

As a result of the presentation, Made Equal invited Dr Guerrina to submit a brief to be presented to United Nations Special Rapporteur on
Violence against women, Professor Rashida Manjoo
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Women argue they are being sidelined 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Internview in high impact newspaper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.ft.com/content/bcb39c76-21a0-11e6-9d4d-c11776a5124d
 
Description the EU Question and Women 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview with national newspaper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/eva-neitzert/eu-referendum-women_b_10397962.html