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2 Eur. L.J. 1 (1996)

handle is hein.journals/eurlj2 and id is 1 raw text is: 


European Law Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, March 1996, pp. 1-2
0 Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1996, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK
and 238 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA


    Correspondence: letters in response to articles published in the European Law Journal
    or on topical developments regarding issues with which the journal is concerned, of no
    more  than 500 words, may be sent to the editorial address and considered for
    publication in the correspondence section.



'Encapsulating   Feminism'


Dear  Editor,

Wolfgang  Streeck, in his article in your first issue, describes the women's rights policy
of the European  Union  as representing a federalism which is 'encapsulated. By this
he seems  to mean   that although  the policy has developed  some  (weak)  federal
characteristics, these are confined to a single area and have few repercussions. This
designation certainly pays more attention to the women's policy than is usual; it also
in a subtle way continues its marginalisation.
   The trajectory of the EU women's  policy over more  than thirty years provides a
unique case study of how bureaucrats, law-makers and popular movements  interact in
the EU   framework.  And  far from  being  'encapsulated', I would argue  that the
surprising thing about this policy development has been the seepage and spillage that
has taken place. So the policy has expanded from Article 119 in the Treaty of Rome on
equal pay, through six Directives and four Action Programmes,  and into more than
seventy cases before the European Court of Justice. This has involved the development
of a considerable infrastructure around the policy and what I have called a 'women's
European  policy network'2.
   Material reality, certainly in respect of women, does not distinguish clearly between
the public and the private, the economic and the social. Thus activism by different
groups  of women  has  pressed hard on the apparent  dividing line, so that the EU
women's  policy has moved  from a narrow  to a broad view of employment   issues, is
edging  into  the sexual  and  the  private, and  is raising questions  about  the
representation of women. Though  some  of these developments are problematic in the
present climate, the achievement is striking.
   It is true that despite this expansion the impact of the women's policy has been
limited, in the sense that it has not created a  widespread  engagement  with  the
European  project among   substantial numbers of women.  This  is hardly surprising
given the nature of the EU  policy process, which sets huge obstacles in the way of
those who  would seek to transform partial involvement into sustained transnational
politics. Despite this, I would argue that developments around the women's policy have
gone  further in this direction than those in any other area of EU policy involving
popular participation.

  Streeck, 'Neo-Voluntarism: A New European Social Policy Regime', (1995) 1 European Law Journal 31,
  p 44.
2 C. Hoskyns, Integrating Gender - Women, Law and Polities in the European Union (Verso, 1996).

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