Equal Opportunities between Men and Women and Gender Mainstreaming under the European Employment Strategy (EES) and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) – A New Policy Approach to Combat Gender Discrimination?

Beate Braams

Abstract


The aim of this article is to analyse the development of the concepts of equal opportunities between men and women and gender mainstreaming with regard to a new policy approach taken outside the traditional community method and to raise the question to what extent these policy instruments can be considered as a "new tool" to combat gender discrimination. The European Employment Strategy (EES) and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) are two examples of an instrument outside the community method, which tries to increase the recognition of the gender dimension of the labour market and to improve the initiatives taken in the interrelated field of social inclusion of women by the use of "soft" policy instruments and voluntarist procedures. The paper illustrates the development of the concept of equal opportunities between men and women and gender mainstreaming under the EES and the OMC; more precisely, the paper seeks to demonstrate that the concepts of equal opportunities between men and women and gender mainstreaming cannot be addressed by reference to harmonisation instruments exclusively, but need, due to the diverse approach towards gender equality on a national level, a decentralised approach as it is offered by the coordination instrument, which should be understood as a complementary tool of integration.

Keywords


Social policy; governance; multi-level governance; benchmarking; open coordination; welfare state; legitimacy; accountability

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