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Gender Equality and EU Development Policy: The Second Gender Action Plan 2016-2020

Development
European Union
Gender
Policy Analysis
Gill Allwood
Nottingham Trent University
Gill Allwood
Nottingham Trent University

Abstract

Against the background of a newly agreed global sustainable development and climate change agenda, the EU has introduced a new Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, an Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, and is about to reveal proposals for a revised Consensus on Development. It has also introduced a second Gender Action Plan: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women Through EU External Relations 2016-20, complementing the internal Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-19. This paper analyses the place of gender equality in these policies, asking whether development still stands out from other areas of EU policy as a leader in gender equality and women’s empowerment. Drawing on a series of interviews with policymakers and civil society actors, it examines how gender rises up or slips down the policy agenda, which actors participate in policy formulation, and what consequences this has for implementation and the achievement of gender equality. It focuses in particular on policy coherence and civil society participation. It also asks what a post-Brexit development agenda means for gender equality, given claims that the UK’s Department for International Development was a leading force in pushing gender equality and women’s empowerment onto the EU’s development agenda.