GENDER EQUALITY IN THE EU IN TIMES OF CRISIS: SIDELINED OR SUPPORTED?
A qualitative comparative analysis of the EU’s Global Financial Crisis and Covid-19 Crisis policy response
Despite the claimed prioritization of democratic values such as gender equality, the EU is frequently criticized for sidelining gender equality promotion in times of crisis. The European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) created during the Global Financial Crisis is claimed to have neglected to consider gender, supposedly setting the tone for future economic crisis policy response. The gender equality promoting nature of the Next Generation EU (NGEU) economic recovery package, created as a response to the Covid-19 Crisis, is subsequently debated in the literature, some scholars claiming that a continued gender-blindness can be seen and others arguing that signs of gender equality promotion are indeed present. This thesis aims to contribute to the debate by conducting a qualitative two-step analysis, first comparing the full and final documentation of the EERP and NGEU from a gender equality perspective and then attempting to explain perceived stability or change between the two with the theoretical framework of Historical Institutionalism (HI). The study finds that change by increased gender equality promotion can be seen in the NGEU as opposed to the EERP, which is then explained with the HI concept of critical junctures.
European Union, gender, gender equality, crisis, Covid-19, Global Financial Crisis, historical institutionalism