Analysing European gender equality policies abroad : a reflection on methodology
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
The European journal of women's studies. - London
, p. 265-280
University of Antwerp
Can gender equality quality criteria developed for assessing EU internal policies be used unequivocally for evaluating EU external policies? Or might a methodological adaptation be necesary? To engage with this dilemma, the author evaluates the two-dimensional quality model of Krizsan and Lombardo and examines what a reorientation of the model would entail to better allow for the analysis of gender policy implemented outside of Europe. The author argues that to allow for an in-depth analysis of EU gender policy abroad, the models procedural criteria empowerment of womens rights advocates and transformation with reference to the prevailing context need to be brought centre stage and mainstreamed throughout the research design. The author suggests doing this by explicitly involving the views of gender activists from the national context in the analysis and using their perspectives as a touchstone for the evaluation of quality. To examine the proposed methodological models suitability for analysing the quality of gender policies in EU external relations, this operationalization is applied to the case of EUSouth African development cooperation. The article concludes that the inclusion of gender advocates perspectives is necessary to avoid stereotypical, paternalist and Eurocentric ideas about the meaning of gender equality abroad and allow for a contextually grounded reflexivity on the quality of gender policy. Finally, it is argued that it is the role of feminist research to enhance womens capacity for self-determination methodologically and to hear the voices of national actors that might otherwise not be heard in EU external relations.