Gender equality in European Uniondevelopment policy: incorporatingwomen’s voices or confirminghierarchies?

Afrika Focus. 2013;26(2):31-45


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Journal Title: Afrika Focus

ISSN: 0772-084X (Print); 2031-356X (Online)

Publisher: Gents Afrika Platform, Afrika Brug

LCC Subject Category: Agriculture | Social Sciences

Country of publisher: Belgium

Language of fulltext: French, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Debusscher, Petra (Department of Political Sciences, Ghent Universty, Belgium )


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This paper examines gender mainstreaming in European Union (EU) development aid towards Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to detect how gender (in)equality in Sub-Saharan Africa is framed by the EU by critically assessing the nature and range of the differences between EU and civil so¬ciety framings of gender (in)equality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using the method of Critical Frame Analysis, 28 EU programming documents have been analysed and compared to 10 civil society texts on gender equality. I conclude that the EU’s approach to gender mainstreaming in its de¬velopment aid towards Sub-Saharan Africa is to a large extent integrationist and predominantly instrumentalist as it is framed as a way of more effectively achieving existing policy goals. The more transformative issues that are put forward by Sub-Saharan African civil society organisa¬tions do not fit within the EU’s dominant development paradigm that is focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals and does not significantly challenge gender relations or power structures. The gap between the analysed civil society views and those expressed by the EU can be explained by the EU’s reluctance to include in its policy drafting the promotion of gender equal¬ity by civil society organisations. Moreover, the gap seems to have both practical and ideological grounds.