chapter  6
17 Pages

The European union and the value of gender equality

EU actorness is an interaction between presence, opportunity and capability

(Bretherton 2002, 14) so this chapter analyses these three factors in a historical

and comparative perspective as far as the value of gender equality is concerned,

with special emphasis on enlargement and development, together with a reflec-

tion on the impact of EU gender equality mechanisms on the formation of

European identity. Gender equality policy was born in Europe through the

intellectual tradition of ‘women’s difference’. The EU is a young normative

power, which is slowly transforming itself from an economic community into a

post-national political actor (Manners 2000a; 2002). Its identity is based on

universal human values such as equality in order to overcome the difficulties of

diversity found in differing national traditions and lack of a common ‘European’

cultural tradition.