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Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession

Gender Equality and the Occurrence of Indirect Opposition

Contentious Politics
 
European Politics
 
Gender
 
Political Sociology
 
Feminism
 
Qualitative
 
Decision Making
 
Power
 
Presenter
Petra Ahrens
Tampere University
Authors
Petra Ahrens
Tampere University

Abstract
Political disagreements and oppositional standpoints are a common thing in policy-making. Nonetheless, opposition in all its varietes has the potential of hindering the enforcement of fundamental rights such as gender equality. With regard to the European Union, gender equality policy has been characterised as a success story and - as long as there were steps forward - few has been examined with regard to what forms of opposition hinder an effective implementation of e.g. gender mainstreaming. Researchers paid attention to direct opposition such as reluctant employer’s organizations or blimpish organizations; still, this does not fully grasp opposition in all its forms. Adjacent to its direct forms, opposition also exists in indirect forms. In this paper I will discuss indirect opposition as a main feature of opposition in EU gender equality policy-making. The paper shows, where and when gender equality actors face indirect opposition. In gender equality policy, indirect opposition can be categorized in three, sometimes overlapping forms: inertia, ignorance, and degradation. All three forms are specific to gender equality policy and are very effective in hampering further improvements in e.g. the set-up of policy programs. The analysis relies on elite interviews about how policy programs like the “Roadmap for equality between women and men (2006-2010)” are set up in EU policy-making.
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