The Commission’s Green Paper on corporate social responsibility (CSR) made several suggestions regarding ways to use awards in support of CSR in the workplace. For example, an award for gender equality or a European label to be presented annually to businesses that have developed good practice to promote gender equality has already been agreed within the Framework Strategy on Gender Equality (2001-2005).
The phrase ‘gender mainstreaming’ refers to the objective of integrating gender equality into all social and economic policy, rather than handling the issue in isolation. Fodor asks four fundamental question: What is gender mainstreaming? What social ills is it supposed to remedy? Does it have any relevance for post-communist countries? How efficiently is the EU achieving its social goals through gender mainstreaming?
The author looks at the implementation of gender policy in the new Member States and contrasts it with western-European efforts. East European policymakers argue that women’s emancipation was one of the major successes of the state socialist governments and that the issue is largely resolved in the region. However Fodor, in her comparison of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, finds evidence to the contrary. Firstly, significant gender inequality exists in the labour markets of all east-European countries. Secondly, there are obvious other differences between post-state socialist societies at similar levels of development. Finally, the degree of gender inequality has converged to levels observable in western-European societies.
Unfortunately, this convergence has been part of a leveling process which has seen gender equality increase in the West, whilst east- European women have become more vulnerable in their labour markets. The paper concludes that current EU policies targeting gender inequality are “often ineffective and their implementation leaves much to be desired.”
To read the full paper, click here.