Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality

A Critical Frame Analysis of Gender Policies in Europe

M. Verloo: Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality

This book aims to map the diversity of meanings of gender equality across Europe and reflects on the contested concept of gender equality. In its exploration of the diverse meanings of gender equality it not only takes into account the existence of different visions of gender equality, and the way in which different political and theoretical debates crosscut these visions, but also reflects upon the geographical contexts in which visions and debates over gender equality are located. The contextual locations where these visions and debates take place include the European Union and member states such as Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, and Spain. In all of these settings, the different meanings of gender equality are explored comparatively in relation to the issues of family policies, domestic violence, and gender inequality in politics, while specific national contexts discuss the issues of prostitution (Austria, Slovenia), migration (the Netherlands), homosexual rights (Spain), and antidiscrimination (Hungary). The multiple meanings of gender equality are studied through Critical Frame Analysis, a methodology that builds on social movement theory and that was refined further with elements of gender and political theory within the context of the MAGEEQ research project.

The policy frames analyzed express particular representations of what the problem of gender inequality is and what the solution could be. They also include traces about how gender and other inequalities are conceptualized; who has/should have a voice in the framing of gender equality problems and solutions; for whom is gender inequality seen to be a problem; who is represented as the normative group; and who are the target groups of the policy measures proposed. In the discussion of the different ways of framing gender equality in Europe, each chapter will provide insights on the ongoing theoretical and political debate about “what is gender equality?”, disclosing the visions, debates, and contexts that move around and contribute to shape such a complex and contested concept.

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