Introduction: Rethinking Gender Equality Since the Turn of the Millennium

  • Diana Auth
  • Jutta Hergenhan
  • Barbara Holland-Cunz


Since the turn of the millennium, many countries across Europe have taken legislative action to increase gender equality in the fields of economy, family and politics. Equal pay policies, corporate board quotas, parental leave reforms and electoral gender quotas have brought innovations to the gender order and to the gender culture of many societies. This introduction gives an overview over the policy measures which have been implemented in the last 15 years and presents different theoretical approaches to analyse them with regard to their effects and outcomes. Furthermore, we raise the question whether fast-track solutions are preferable to long-term cultural changes, and under which institutional and political conditions policies can actually have an effect on gender equality.


Gender equality Political representation 


  1. Auth, Diana, Sigrid Leitner, and Christina Klenner. 2015. Neue Sorgekonflikte: Die Zumutungen des Adult worker model. In Prekarisierungen. Arbeit, Sorge und Inklusion, ed. Susanne Völker, and Michèle Armacker, 42–58. Weinheim: Beltz/Juventa.Google Scholar
  2. Borchorst, Anette, and Mari Teigen. 2015. Gleichstellungspolitik in Nordeuropa: Quotenregelungen für Eltern und Führungskräfte. WSI Mitteilungen 68(1): 35–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bothfeld, Silke, and Sophie Rouault. 2015. Was macht eine effiziente Gleichstellungspolitik aus? Das Instrument Frauenquote im internationalen Vergleich. WSI Mitteilungen 68(1): 25–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dahlerup, Drude, and Lenita Freidenvall. 2003. Quotas as a ‘Fast track’ to Equal Political Representation for Women. Why Scandinavia is no longer the model. Accessed April 27, 2016.
  5. Dovi, Suzanne. 2011. Political Representation. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta. Stanford. Accessed January 12, 2013.
  6. Ellingsaeter, Anne Lise. 2007. ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Politics of Time to Care: Three Norwegian Reforms. Journal of European Social Policy 17(1): 49–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. European Commission. 2012. Women in Economic Decision-Making in the EU: Progress Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2016. Report on Equality Between Women and Men 2015. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  9. Fraser, Nancy. 1997. Justice Interruptus. Critical Reflections on the ‘Postsocialist’ Condition. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Gornick, Janet C., and Marcia K. Meyers. 2008. Creating Gender Egalitarian Societies: An Agenda for Reform. Politics & Society 36(3): 313–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Leitner, Sigrid. 2003. Varieties of Familialism. The Caring Function of the Family in Comparative Perspective. European Societies 5(4): 353–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lewis, Jane. 2001. The Decline of the Male Breadwinner Model: Implications for Work and Care. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender. State & Society 8(2): 152–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maier, Friederike. 2015. Europäische Politiken zur Gleichstellung—nur noch schöne Worte? WSI Mitteilungen 68(1): 5–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Phillips, Anne. 1991. Engendering Democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  15. Pitkin, Hanna F. 1972/1967. The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Rafnsdóttir, Gudbjörg Linda, Thorgerdur Einarsdóttir, and Jón Snorri Snorrason. 2014. Gender Quota on the Boards of Corporations in Iceland. In Gender Quotas for Company Boards, ed. Marc De Vos, and Phillipe Culliford, 147–157. Cambridge: Intersentia Publishing.Google Scholar
  17. Smith, Marc, and Paola Villa. 2015. EU-Strategien zur Geschlechter- und Lohngleichstellung und die Auswirkungen der Wirtschaftskrise. WSI Mitteilungen 68(1): 13–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Auth
    • 1
  • Jutta Hergenhan
    • 2
  • Barbara Holland-Cunz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of Applied Sciences BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Media and InteractivityJustus-Liebig University of GiessenGiessenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Political ScienceJustus-Liebig University of GiessenGiessenGermany

Personalised recommendations