ABSTRACT. This paper explores the relationship between the European identity project and European Union gender equality policy in terms of the implications for the practice of gender expertise. In the first section of the paper I chart the development of gender equality policies over the last six decades, outlining pivotal shifts in EU governance models and policy instruments which define the incremental incorporation of “gender equality” into visions of European identity. This sheds light on a dynamic of reciprocity whereby claims about shared European concepts of gender equality serve to address EU democratic deficits, and EU frameworks discursively legitimate gender knowledge and expertise. In the second part of the article I explore the implications of said relationship for the practice of gender expertise in the EU. This includes discussions of Open Methods of Coordination in the form of mainstreaming, accession and integration, and the tensions of market driven equality work. This article sheds light on the challenges in the political economy of gender knowledge and gender expertise in the epistemological space of European identity and EU narratives of progress and civilizational supremacy.

Keywords: gender; equality; expertise; European identity; European Union

How to cite: Enderstein, Athena (2017). “European Identity and Gender Equality Policies: Shaping the Practice of Gender Expertise,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7(2): 109–135.

Received 15 March 2017 • Received in revised form 18 September 2017
Accepted 19 September 2017 • Available online 10 October 2017


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Associazione Orlando,
Italian Women’s Library;
School of Gender Studies,
University of Hull

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