European Social Partners as Gender Equality Actors in EU Social and Economic Governance

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Series Details Volume 58, Number 4, Pages 999-1015
Publication Date July 2020
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This article explores the role of a hitherto under‐researched set of actors – European social partners – in shaping the EU's gender equality policies and the conditions in which these policies are adopted and implemented. The positions of the social partners are analysed using three key policy issues of importance to gender equality: the initiative on work–life balance; the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Semester.

We argue that social partners play a crucial role in shaping EU gender policy both within and outside social dialogues. They influence the form and instruments of the EU's gender equality policy; shape the meaning of gender equality and participate in the broader conflict between the EU's economic and social goals which is crucial for the future of the EU's gender policies.

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