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Johanna Kantola and Emanuela Lombardo

Interpretive studies of EU gender equality policies show that gender equality is constructed and contested in the EU. Not only does the European Parliament or the European Commission put forward different framings of gender equality problems and solutions, but also within each institution different meanings are attributed to gender, equality, women and men. This ongoing construction and contestation that takes place in the daily dynamics between actors, discourses and institutions, is what produces change in EU gender equality policies. Shifts in framing over time show the expansion of gender equality policy strategies from equal treatment to positive actions, gender mainstreaming and multiple inequalities, the institutional and policy moves from employment to human rights, and the predominance of neoliberal economic priorities over gender and social aims in times of economic crisis. Interpretive works show that power relations mobilised in the construction of Europe have important gender and intersectional dimensions.