The EU has been a key actor in shaping European gender regimes in post-war Europe. There is a substantial amount of work on the role of the EU as a gender actor, particularly in employment and social policy. The adoption of and consistent referral to equality as a fundamental value of the EU raises important questions about the way the EU promotes ‘soft’ values in an international setting, through its security and defence policy, particularly as the EU is trying to promote itself as a normative actor. Hence, this article sets out to analyse where gender equality, as a policy frame, is located within the European External Action Service (EEAS). Through an investigation into whether the core normative principles of gender equality and mainstreaming have permeated this policy domain, we then focus on how the EEAS reflects the EU’s gender regime, which is informed by Walby’s framework, and how this shapes mainstream security and defence policies. We find that the neo-liberal foundations of the EU permeate the way the EEAS incorporates the principle of equality, leading to a shallow understanding that focuses on adding women into existing structures.
- European External Action Service
- gender regimes