Same, Different or Diverse? An Analysis of the European Union´s Gender Mainstreaming Policies- A Critical Comment

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This paper examines the adoption of the EU´s gender mainstreaming policies. More specifically, the purpose of this paper is to explore how gender equality has been constructed and what this implies in terms of representations of gender and possibilities of transformation. By using discourse theory drawing mainly on Laclau and Mouffe, the policy document 'A Roadmap for Equality between women and men 2006-2010' is analyzed. In this respect the discourse theoretical framework functions both as theory and method. In order to structure the analysis, Laclau and Mouffe´s theoretical tools are combined with Judith Squire´s theories on 'feminist political strategies'. Concepts such as inclusion, reversal and displacement are applied to the empirical material. The paper argues that the construction of gender equality is articulated around narrow representations of gender drawing upon notions of 'sameness' and 'difference' but concludes that there are elements aspiring to 'move beyond gender' too. Key words: gender mainstreaming, the EU, gender equality, discourse theory,representations.

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