EU’s Gender Equality Dilemma: A Human Rights or a Market Economy Instrument?

  • Sinem Bal
Keywords: Turkey-EU relations, EU’s gender equality conditionality, norm diffusion


In the early stages of the European Integration, gender equality related policies were narrowly tackled due to the economic recovery priority of the Union. Although there was a rise of national and international women movements all around Europe, gender equality, particularly as a new paradigm, had not gained priority until the 1990s, when the EU was newly building a political presence in the world politics. Since the Copenhagen Criteria were presented in 1993, gender equality embedded titles have proven to be more promising as they are declared as a part of the EU’s human rights norms and the EU’s self-image towards ‘Others’. In a similar vein, specifically in that period the EU has contributed several international women conventions and has undertaken responsibilities in terms of promoting equality between men and women in its external relations. However, the explanations how a gender equality norm matters in the EU are yet unsatisfied due to the continuity of gender blind policies and strategies. This paper scrutinizes the content within which the EU has constructed gender equality norm inside its borders and then exported it as a Europeanization norm in its relations with Turkey. In light of the EU’s official documents and imposition of gender equality as an accession criterion, it can be argued that instead of creating an ideational change in the unequal conception of gender roles, the EU constantly instrumentalizes gender equality as a regulatory mechanism for market economy both inside the Union and throughout its enlargement process. Hence, despite its gender sensitive image, the EU falls short in internalizing


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How to Cite
Bal, S. (2019). EU’s Gender Equality Dilemma: A Human Rights or a Market Economy Instrument?. Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women’s Studies, 20(2), 43-63.