Gender Mainstreaming in EU—SADC Relations: The Capabilities-Expectations Gap

  • Anna van der VleutenEmail author
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)


The European Union (EU) proudly presents itself as normative power and role model to other world regions. Gender mainstreaming is one of the norms promoted by the EU in its dealings with other regional organizations. However, this norm seems to clash with the neoliberal norms incorporated in its trade regime. How does the EU deal with this clash? In this chapter, we investigate to what extent the EU behaves as a role model and teacher towards the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We argue that the exercise of normative power by the EU might be hampered in two respects, by its own inconsistencies and by the uneasy fit of its identity with SADC identity. EU trade and aid policies directed at SADC are discussed in terms of their intended and unintended consequences for gender: where is gender included and where is it absent, despite the commitment to gender mainstreaming? Inconsistencies are highlighted. Policies of SADC in the field of gender are presented, with a special focus on trade. We conclude that SADC policies are more extensively gender mainstreamed than EU aid and trade policies towards SADC. As a result, the credibility of the EU as normative power in the field of gender equality is seriously questioned.


European Union Gender Equality Regional Integration Southern African Development Community European Union Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Management ResearchRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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