Gender Mainstreaming: Just an Empty Slogan? On the Norm Diffusion of the Gender Equality Concept from the EU to the Local Level
Abstract: Gender mainstreaming is currently the main gender equality approach of the EU. This concept differs from former gender approaches since it is cross-sectional and applicable to every governmental level and all kinds of organisations. Considering gender mainstreaming as a norm, the aim of this study is to trace the process of the norm development from the EU to the local level in order to suggest how to precipitate and improve socialisation. The analysed and compared cases are the municipality of Malmö in Sweden and the municipality of Essen in Germany. Socialisation theories with a focus on social movement and social learning approaches provide the theoretical framework. This study analyses and compares the municipalities according to the norm life cycle suggested by Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink and scrutinises which mechanisms impel socialisation. After tracing the process it transpires that gender mainstreaming is more internalised in the Swedish case because of the more frequent appearance of the mechanism normative suasion, which features an interactive discussion without manipulation between the actors. However, in the German case the mechanism role playing is more apparent, which is related to the wish for conformity in order to avoid conflict with the community. Nevertheless, gender mainstreaming is not deeply internalised in either of the discussed municipalities.
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