Gender equality within the United Nations’ international sustainable development policy agreement - A discourse analysis
Abstract: This thesis sets out to explain the evolution of feminist discourse within the sustainable development policy community. I compare two major United Nations international policy frameworks, Agenda 21 and the Sustainable Development Goals, which have similar objectives and scope and were adopted 20 years apart. The UN agendas define international and national policy and actions that are expected to be taken into consideration by all the UN member states. Its ambitions are to jointly address economic, social and environmental issues through common sets of objectives and cross-cutting goals. Gender issues, especially gender equality feature heavily in both agendas as a key aspect and means to reaching sustainable development. I compare the two agendas and analyze how the gender equality discourse has changed over time. To guide the analysis, I draw from intersectional feminist theory and use a critical discourse analytical framework. Women, who are the main target in the discourse of gender equality, are subjected as a minority through maintenance and reproduction of gendered norms and structures. I find that in the new agenda women are less marginalized than in the earlier version.
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