What impact have post-crisis public policies had on gender equality in EU member states?


Gender equality is a key tenet of the progressive agenda in Europe. Developing and adopting policies aimed at reducing the gaps between men and women is not just a good in of itself, but also for the future economic and social development of our societies. To this end, our paper explores the gendered consequences of the public policies which have been pursued across EU countries in the years since the economic crisis. The paper takes a comparative approach in which it analyses four case studies: the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden and Poland. In so doing, the paper first conducts an overview of the common gender dimensions to the policy processes that have been pursued across the EU. Second, from a gender equality standpoint, it examines the extent to which the distinct welfare regimes in each of these cases have followed different trajectories of both the crisis and the post-crisis policy response. Third, it argues that the economic and social policies developed and implemented in at least three of the case studies that we examine in this paper, have resulted in increased levels of gender inequality in some of the analysed areas. This, in turn, is detrimental to efforts to combat the financial and fiscal crisis. Finally, the paper offers recommendations to be adopted at the EU level in order to counterbalance these gendered outcomes.

Key words: gender, crisis, reforms, public policy, equality  

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