ABSTRACT. Cities are on the focus of policy action in the European Union (EU) from the ‘80s. The relevance of the urban issue within the UE has evolved through a complex process that has led to the definition of the urban dimension of the EU policy. The development of this process has given place to the construction of a concept of “sustainable/integrated urban development” encoded in the policy tools launched through the years by the European Commission (EC) and other relevant stakeholders. In 1999 entered into force the Treaty of Amsterdam, which brought a new insight regarding gender issues at EU level, as it introduced for the first time the concept of gender mainstreaming. This work addresses the question: Has the urban dimension of the EU policy integrated the gender perspective vision embraced by the Treaty of Amsterdam? The study undertakes the analysis of the discourse adopted by written policy tools launched in the EU context from 1997 (year in which the Treaty was signed) to the present in order to understand if the gender perspective has been mainstreamed in the urban policy of the EU. The analysis developed shows that the gender dimension has been excluded from the definition of the policy problem (contradicting the Treaty of Amsterdam and subsequent legislation). The outputs of the research allow shedding light on this issue with the aim of bringing it to debate. This is considered particularly important in the current situation, in which the Members States are starting to implement the initiatives for sustainable urban development co-funded by the Structural Funds in this period of the Cohesion Policy (2014–2020).

Keywords: urban policy of the EU; gender; gender mainstreaming; sustainable urban development; policy discourse

How to cite: De Gregorio Hurtado, Sonia (2017), “A Critical Approach to EU Urban Policy from the Viewpoint of Gender,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7(1): 200–217.

Received 15 January 2017 • Received in revised form 4 April 2017
Accepted 4 April 2017 • Available online 20 May 2017


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Department of Urban and Spatial Planning,
Technical University of Madrid

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