Defending Women's Rights in Europe

Gender Equality and EU Enlargement

By Olga A. Avdeyeva

Subjects: European Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Women's Studies, Sociology Of Women
Series: SUNY Press Open Access
Paperback : 9781438455921, 286 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438455914, 286 pages, May 2015

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Part I. EU Enlargement, Accession Conditionality, and Gender Equality: Theoretical Departures and Research Design
1. Introduction
2. Theoretical Framework
3. Exploring the Data
Part II. Case Studies: International and Domestic Dimensions
4. Introduction to Qualitative Analysis
5. Poland: Political Swings and Challenged Compliance
6. Czech Republic: State Cooptation of Reforms and Marginal Compliance
7. Lithuania: Policy Emulation and Strong Compliance
8. Conclusion
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
Appendix IV
Personal Interviews

Comparative analysis of gender equality reforms enacted in ten post-communist states who became members of the European Union.


Between 2004 and 2007, ten post-communist Eastern European states became members of the European Union (EU). To do so, these nations had to meet certain EU accession requirements, including antidiscrimination reforms. While attaining EU membership was an incredible achievement, many scholars and experts doubted the sustainability of accession-linked reforms. Would these nations comply with EU directives on gender equality? To explore this question, Defending Women's Rights in Europe presents a unique analysis of detailed original comparative data on state compliance with EU gender equality requirements. It features a comprehensive quantitative analysis combined with rigorous insightful case studies of reforms in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania. Olga A. Avdeyeva reveals that policy and institutional reforms developed furthest in those states where women's advocacy NGOs managed to form coalitions with governing political parties. After becoming members of the EU, the governments did not abolish these policies and institutions despite the costs and lack of popular support. Reputational concerns prevented state elites from policy dismantling, but gender equality policies and institutions became marginalized on the state agenda after accession.

This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to Knowledge Unlatched—an initiative that provides libraries and institutions with a centralized platform to support OA collections and from leading publishing houses and OA initiatives. Learn more at the Knowledge Unlatched website at: https://www. knowledgeunlatched. org/, and access the book online at the SUNY Open Access Repository at http://hdl. handle. net/20. 500. 12648/1710.

Olga A. Avdeyeva is Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago.


"This is a fascinating study of the factors strengthening and weakening gender policies, and the case studies reveal richness and complexity that are difficult to distill in causal hypotheses … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE