Global Power Europe - Vol. 2

Part of the series Global Power Shift pp 291-303


Gender Equality in European Union Development Policy

  • Petra DebusscherAffiliated withCentre for EU Studies, Department of Political Sciences, Ghent University Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This chapter critically examines gender mainstreaming in EU development aid to assess whether or not the EU can be considered a leading and distinctive gender actor. To answer this question I will analyse the budget, gendered language and frame of high level policy programming documents. First I evaluate whether a shift has been made from a conservative Women in Development paradigm to a transformative Gender and Development paradigm to determine if the EU lives up to European and international commitments on gender equality and can be considered to be leading by example. Second I examine whether the EU advocates a distinctive ‘Europeanness’ in its gender policy towards developing countries. The chapter concludes that the shift towards a transformative Gender and Development paradigm has only partly been made. Moreover, I argue that rather than a distinctive ‘Europeanness’, the EU’s gender equality approach can be called a patchwork of approaches derived from other international institutions such as the UN or the World Bank. This implies that the EU is not the innovative leading gender power it claims to be.