Promoting Women's Rights: The Politics of Gender in the European Union

Promoting Women's Rights: The Politics of Gender in the European Union

Promoting Women's Rights: The Politics of Gender in the European Union

Promoting Women's Rights: The Politics of Gender in the European Union

Synopsis

This dissertation examines the impact of international institutions on women's rights policies by focusing on the European Union (EU) as a case study in order to illustrate the influence and the ways in which international factors affect women's rights as a global policy concern. The principle proposition of this study is that beyond states, institutions are autonomous agents that influence policy outcomes often against member states' preferences.

Excerpt

International institutions plan an increasingly important role in policy arenas once considered strictly within the realm of national politics. National level policymaking is no longer sufficient for analyzing such diverse policy sectors as environmental, fiscal and monetary policies. Social policy, often considered as a "core area of national sovereignty" (Pierson 1996, 148) and zealously guarded by states eager to protect and proclaim their national identity, is not immune from these developments.

This book examines the impact of international institutions on women's rights policies by focusing on the European Union (EU) as a case study in order to illustrate the influence and the ways in which international factors affect women's rights as a global policy concern. At the supranational level, I focus on the European Union's (EU) gender policy in order to provide empirical evidence on the role of supranational institutions in initiating policy change and ameliorating the status of European women. I concentrate on gender policy in the Structural Funds, the major source of funding for European social policy, in order to demonstrate the ways in which specific EU programs influence national policies. I also examine the influence of international institutions on Cyprus, a state seeking admission into the EU, in order to determine whether the EU can act as a catalyst for change in social policy in candidate countries that are resistant to change.

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