European economic governance

A feminist perspective

Authored by: Muireann O'dwyer

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429491306-12

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Abstract

Is European economic policy gendered? The answer may seem obvious. But it may seem obvious to those who answer in both the affirmative and the negative. It seems obvious to those who regularly consider questions of gender equality that European economic policy is gendered. Many would even argue that all policy is gendered (Fraser 2013; West 1988). Politics and policy are about power, and power is gendered. Additionally, economies are gendered by inequalities, segregation and stereotypes. Policymaking is done by individuals, and so will reflect the gender, life experience and biases of those individuals. However, to read the prominent literature on European economic policy, of which there is a veritable library, it would seem clear that the answer to the above question is no. Obviously economic policy isn't gendered. Apart from some rare interconnections with gender equality policies, economic policy is about managing the economy. It is about questions of the relationship between the state and the market. It is about managing scarce resources and regulating firms and individuals. It is gender-blind. For people who hold the latter view, it is not unusual that the policy makers of European Economic Governance rarely, if ever, discuss gender. It makes sense that the major texts of the economic crisis and the governance regime that followed do not examine the gendered nature of policy or crisis (Baldwin and Giavazzi 2015; Blyth 2013; Dawson 2015; De Grauwe and Yuemei 2015; Fabbrini 2016; Hall 2012; Jones et al. 2016; Laffan 2014; Matthijs 2016; Scharpf 2015; Schmidt 2016; Streeck 2014). This chapter will explore why such analysis is limited by its lack of gender-sensitivity. It will begin by outlining the current economic governance regime, then it will explore the gendered impacts of that regime, and finally it will explore how the omission of gender analysis is a fundamental part of European economic governance.

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