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Gender Inequality and Welfare States in Europe

Mary Daly

Gender equality has been one of the defining projects of European welfarestates. It has proven an elusive goal, not just because of political opposition but also due to a lack of clarity in how to best frame equality and take account of family-related considerations. This wide-ranging book assembles the most pertinent literature and evidence to provide a critical understanding of how contemporary state policies engage with gender inequalities.
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Chapter 6: The EU, equality and social policy

Mary Daly


The key questions that run throughout this chapter centre upon how equality has been conceived and addressed as a policy goal by the EU and what progress has been made in prioritizing gender. The chapter generally follows a chronological line of analysis. This serves to reveal the thinking (problematization) prevailing at different points in time as well as the cumulation of different approaches and their institutionalization. It starts with the legal approach adopted in the 1970s and then moves on to consider how, in the context of wavering faith in this view, gender mainstreaming was adopted as the favoured approach.

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