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Feminist NGOs and the European Union: Contracting Opportunities and Strategic Responses
Cullen, Pauline
European women's organizations were among the first social movements to recognize the European Union (EU) as an important context for claim-making. From the mid-1990s, feminist groups had secured a representation to this transnational opportunity structure in the form of the European Women's Lobby (EWL), which receives EU funding, has access to policy setting, and is credited with a role in the construction and consolidation of EU gender equality policy. More recently, the EWL has experienced a contraction in the EU political opportunity context, a function of Eurocrisis dynamics that deem gender equality too costly at a time of austerity. EU progress on gender equality has stalled, with most policy advanced through non-binding or soft law mechanisms. This work assesses the implications of these shifts for the strategies and patterns of mobilization employed by the EWL as it works to exploit soft law opportunities and develop collaborative strategies with other EU non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and in other intergovernmental fora to promote a gendered analysis of the economic crises. Though this latter strategy is a relatively late and weak engagement on austerity, it marks a departure in strategic terms. The organization has also adopted strategies aimed at compensating for declining resources including seeking out new resource streams and cohering closely to topics where EU funding opportunities remain. Analysis of the EWL's response to this challenging political opportunity structure allows for an assessment of how feminist NGOs deal with austerity-based reductions in the political space and financial support for feminist mobilization and gender equality measures across Europe.
Keyword(s): Gender equality; international NGOs; women's rights; gender mainstreaming; austerity; political and economic opportunities; international governance; European Union
Publication Date:
2014
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Cullen, Pauline (2014) Feminist NGOs and the European Union: Contracting Opportunities and Strategic Responses. Social Movement Studies, 14 (4). pp. 410-424. ISSN 1474-2837
Publisher(s): Taylor & Francis
File Format(s): other
Related Link(s): http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/8999/1/PC-Feminist-2014.pdf
First Indexed: 2020-04-02 06:25:21 Last Updated: 2020-04-02 06:25:21