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An EU Governance Mix of Rights and Advice: The Case of Gender Equality and Employment

Courts
Europeanisation through Law
Judicialisation
Policy Implementation
Policy-Making
Sonja Bekker
Tilburg University
Sonja Bekker
Tilburg University
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Abstract

Gender equality is set prominently on the agenda of the EU Pillar of Social Rights. This paper explores how the different ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ instruments the EU currently has, jointly support gender equality on the labour market. These instruments can influence each other, having complementary effects if separate instruments pursue common goals (Trubek and Trubek, 2007), e.g. supporting gender equality via treaty norms and in employment policy coordination. Yet, if different instruments pursue different goals, rivalry occurs including competition for dominance (see also Armstrong, 2013). First, the paper analyses the EU’s legislative framework: the treaty norms and the part-time working Directive. Part-time employment is highly gendered and quite a ‘female’ phenomenon. While part-time work has positive effects (e.g. on work-life balance) it also has negative effects (e.g. career penalties, lower pensions) (e.g. Ghailina, 2014). Second, EU employment policy coordination is explored, including the country-specific recommendation to the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, and Ireland (Divergent cases selection). The paper concludes that the EU’s governance mix does not always set consistent goals regarding gender equality on the labour market, especially when it comes to part-time employment.