University of Sussex
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Feminist theory, gender mainstreaming and the European Union: examining the effects of EU gender mainstreaming and national law on female asylum seekers in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

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posted on 2023-06-09, 11:44 authored by Monica Katherine Beard
The European Union (EU) policy of gender mainstreaming has been discussed at length in the context of embedding gender equality into the EU’s internal market. The effectiveness of gender mainstreaming has been less analysed in other areas of EU competence. This PhD draws on feminist theory to explain the EU’s gendered treatment of vulnerable women within the asylum system. Using a range of theories of gender equality, notably separate spheres, radical feminism, and intersectional feminism, the thesis analyses the relevant asylum legislation, judgements and guidelines in international law, EU law and the national legal systems of two EU member states: the United Kingdom and Ireland. These feminist theories provided a perspective which allowed this research to explain how the EU has failed to address significantly and meaningfully the gendered aspects of the asylum system in member states. Despite the EU’s stated attempts to ensure through gender mainstreaming that the member states rely on a theory of gender equality which provides protection to women in the asylum system, this PhD found both that the EU has not sufficiently embodied an intersectional approach to gender and asylum and that member states are still more influenced by their national political culture and treatment of gender equality than that of the EU. This thesis uses that research to make recommendations at both an EU and national level to help the EU and its member states better incorporate gender mainstreaming in order to ensure human rights protection for vulnerable women. As the EU manages increasing refugee applications and increasing nationalist sentiment, this presents an opportunity to embed more thoroughly intersectional gender mainstreaming in both EU asylum policy and the EU’s political culture.


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University of Sussex

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