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Palgrave Macmillan

Gender Equality Norms in Regional Governance

Transnational Dynamics in Europe, South America and Southern Africa

ISBN 9781137301444
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Gender and Politics

This book investigates the diffusion of gender equality norms in and between the European Union (EU), South America and Southern Africa. It offers an in-depth analysis of the trajectories of norms on gender-based violence and gender mainstreaming of aid and trade. The study proposes a novel theoretical framework that enables scholars to grasp the constant renegotiation of gender equality norms in the dynamics between transnational, national and (inter)regional actor constellations. Moving beyond the predominant 'global-local' approach, it conceptualizes norm diffusion as a multidirectional and polycentric process. The empirical chapters show how new geometries of transnational activism have developed. Last but not least, the text explores how the landscapes through which norms travel impact on the norms as well as on their diffusion, revealing the underlying logics that explain the differences in the strengths of gender equality norms as well as the differences between the EU, Mercosur, Organization of American States and Southern African Development Community.

Anna van der Vleuten is Associate Professor of European Integration at the Institute for Management Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and Associate Fellow of the Potsdam Centrum für Politik und Management, Germany. Her research focuses on comparative regionalism, gender equality policies, LGBT rights and the political role of supranational courts. She is the author of The Price of Gender Equality: Member States and Governance in the European Union and the co-editor of Closing or Widening the Gap? Legitimacy and Democracy in Regional Integration Organizations. She has published in Comparative European Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies and West-European Politics, among others.

Anouka van Eerdewijk is Affiliated Researcher at the Institute for Management Research and the Institute for Gender Studies of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She works as Senior Advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute (Amsterdam). Her research focuses on civil society, gender mainstreaming and transformative change, sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence and sexuality. Most of her work is on Sub-Saharan Africa, but she also works on Bangladesh, India and Europe. Her articles have appeared in Globalizations and Gender Development among others. A special issue on gender mainstreaming is forthcoming with the Journal of International Development.

Conny Roggeband is Associate Professor of Political Studies at FLACSO, Ecuador, and Associate Fellow of VU University, Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the interface between gender equality policies and women's organizations. She is the co-editor of the Handbook of Social Movements Across Disciplines and The Future of Social Movement Research: Dynamics, Mechanisms and Processes. She has published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Social Politics, Policy & Politics and West European Politics.

1. Introducing the Book; Anna van der Vleuten, Anouka van Eerdewijk and Conny Roggeband
2. Regional Governance, Gender and Transnationalism: A First Exploration; Anna van der Vleuten and Anouka van Eerdewijk
3. Gender Equality Norm Diffusion and Actor Constellations: A First Exploration; Anouka van Eerdewijk and Conny Roggeband
4. EU and the Export of Gender Equality Norms: Myth and Facts; Alison E. Woodward and Anna van der Vleuten
5. Gender Mainstreaming in EU Development Policy towards Southern Africa and South America; Petra Debusscher
6. Gender Mainstreaming in Mercosur and in Mercosur-EU Trade Relations; Andrea Ribeiro Hoffmann
7. Latin American Advocacy on Violence Against Women and the OAS Convention; Conny Roggeband
8. Gender Mainstreaming in SADC and in SADC-EU Trade Relations; Anna van der Vleuten and Merran Hulse
9. Regional Advocacy on Violence Against Women and the SADC Gender Protocol; Anouka van Eerdewijk and Joni van de Sand
10. Reconceptualizing Gender Equality Norm Diffusion and Regional Governance: Logics and Geometries; Conny Roggeband, Anouka van Eerdewijk and Anna van der Vleuten

Petra Debusscher, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Merran Hulse, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Andrea Ribeiro Hoffmann, Free University Berlin, Germany
Joni van de Sand, WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform, The Netherlands
Alison Woodward, Free University of Brussels, Belgium


The book succeeds in bringing together research on transnational norm diffusion with comparative regionalism. The combination provides a fresh perspective on how global norms of gender equality are contested and negotiated when they travel from the global to the regional level.
Professor Tanja A. Börzel, Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Center for European Integration, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Bringing together insights from international relations, feminist scholarship, policy analysis, social movement theory and development studies, this book develops a novel theoretical framework to examine the contribution of regional norms and governance institutions to the advancement of gender equality. Drawing on the meso-level of regional governance in the EU, the OAS and Mercosur in South America, and SADC in Southern Africa, the book shows how norms translate, travel, and change in the dynamics between transnational, national, regional and interregional actors. Feminist scholars, social movement specialists, and students of transnational governance will all profit from this rich collection of interdisciplinary research. Sidney Tarrow, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Department of Government, Cornell University, USA
"This innovative study brings together insights from regional institutionalism and norm diffusion to illuminate the complex geometry of global gender equality norms. Employing a unique comparative empirical examination of four regional institutions, the collection reveals the multi-level, multi-actor, and multi-directional processes of gendered norm diffusion. Study results decenter assumptions of European dominance and reveal the importance of long-term engagement by flexible, principled feminist networks."
Elisabeth Jay Friedman, Professor of Politics and Latin American Studies, University of San Francisco
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