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Gender and Public Policy in Europe: An Introduction


The past decade has witnessed a series of both empirical and scholarly developments in the study of gender and public policy in Europe. The papers in this special issue present new theoretical arguments and empirical findings, and provide a state-of-the-art analysis of feminist comparative policy across a range of issue areas, including reconciliation of work and family, reproductive rights, political representation, diversity policies, sexual harassment and gender mainstreaming. Taken together, the studies point to the multi-level nature of gender equality policies in contemporary Europe, to the complex and shifting determinants of successful feminist policies and to the maturation of feminist comparative policy as a field of study.

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  1. For one assessment of comparative gender and policy studies, ‘Feminist Comparative Policy,’ in Western post-industrial democracies see Mazur (2002).

  2. The notion of feminist used here incorporates its broadest meaning as it has been used by feminist political analysts, the advancement of women's rights and status, however they are defined within a given setting, and the striking down of gender-based hierarchies.

  3. For more on intersectionality as a research concept see Weldon (2008).

  4. The RNGS project, examined by Mazur in this volume, also differentiates between women's movements and feminist movements, which are a subset of women's movements (McBride and Mazur, 2008). Similarly not all women's policy agencies represent feminist positions.


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We thank Temple University for financial support for this special issue and for the conference on which it was based. We greatly appreciate the scholarly dedication and hard work of each contributing author and the feedback from two anonymous reviewers, which made this a much stronger collection of papers.

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Correspondence to Mark A Pollack.

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Mazur, A., Pollack, M. Gender and Public Policy in Europe: An Introduction. Comp Eur Polit 7, 1–11 (2009).

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