Gender is not prominent in EU foreign policy towards Mercosur

Gender is not prominent in EU foreign policy towards Mercosur

Presidents from the Mercosur Member States f.l.t.r.  Evo Morales (Bolivia), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina), José Mujica (Uruguay), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela)
Presidents from the Mercosur Member States f.l.t.r. Evo Morales (Bolivia), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina), José Mujica (Uruguay), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela) — Image Credits

Given the EU’s commitment to gender, and its self-promotion as a normative power, one would expect that the EU exports gender norms to Mercosur in their bi-regional relations. This chapter, however, argues that the EU has not been the main driver of the process of institutionalization of gender in Mercosur. Instead, the mobilization of regional women’s movements, and changes in government orientation in Mercosur member states since 2003 are more relevant factors. The EU only plays a marginal role in the promotion of gender issues in its relations with Mercosur. Gender is not prominent in EU foreign policy and development policy towards Mercosur. The process of trade liberalization, one of the central objectives of their interregional relations, is even assessed as having a potential negative impact on gender, and the EU-Mercosur trade policy has not been gender mainstreamed. (...)

In this chapter I explored to what extent and how gender has been addressed in the relations between EU and Mercosur. First, I analysed the process of institutionalization of gender in Mercosur. While gender was not incorporated in Mercosur’s agenda before the late 1990s, it received increasing attention after the turn of the millennium and has now gained a firm place on the Mercosur agenda. Since 2000, Mercosur has adopted a gender mainstreaming approach, that recently is more firmly institutionalized and monitored by the upgrade of the regional gender unit (RMAAM). This success can be attributed to the effective pressure of a regional pentangle that emerged in the early 1990s grouping together representatives of the women’s policy machineries of Mercosur member-states, members of women’s organizations, female unionists, parliamentarians, scholars and women working in international agencies. Regional mobilization was stimulated in the context of the UN Conferences (Beijing 1995 and its reviews in 2000, 2005 and 2010) and inter-American system. More recently, the accession to power of socially oriented governments in Mercosur member states created a new window of opportunities to get gender on the Mercosur agenda. The election of women to the presidencies in Brazil (Dilma Roussef in 2009) and Argentina (Cristina Kirchner in2007) reinforced the enabling role of the domestic executives.

The chapter further assessed the role of the EU in the process of institutionalization of gender, and found that the EU does not appear to act as a strong norm promoter towards Mercosur in its development and trade policies. While EU development policy is gender mainstreamed in theory, in practice gender is not taken into consideration in the bi-regional cooperation policies, and no concrete commitments have been formulated. When it comes to EU trade policy, gender mainstreaming appears to be totally absent. Existing preliminary research results tend to be sceptical about the effect of free trade on gender relations in Mercosur countries. So despite the EU’s discourse on gender mainstreaming, the EU does not act as a normative power in its relations with Mercosur.

 To conclude, this chapter argues that while gender mainstreaming has been adopted as a regional norm both in the EU and in Mercosur, it does not play out in the interregional negotiations and agreements, where a gender perspective is still sorely lacking. Neither the EU, nor Mercosur has positioned itself as an active exporter of the GM norm, and other (economic) interests clearly prevail over gender. The interregional level has not been, so far, a central level of diffusion and travelling of gender norms.

 

Andrea Ribeiro Hoffmann: Gender Mainstreaming in Mercosur and Mercosur trade-relations, in: VAN DER VLEUTEN, ANNA, VAN EERDEWIJK, ANOUKA, & ROGGEBAND, CONNY. (2014). Gender Equality Norms in Regional Governance Transnational Dynamics in Europe, South America and Southern Africa. Palgrave Macmillan.


References

Amitav Acharya (2004). How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? Norm Localization and Institutional Change in Asian Regionalism. International Organization, 58, pp 239-275.

Allaert, Benedicte and Paola Brambilla (2001). International Trade and Gender Inequality: A gender analysis of the trade agreements between the European Union and Latin America: Mexico and MERCOSUR. Women in Development Europe (WIDE), Grupo de Educación Popular con Mujeres (Gem), CISCSA.

Alvarez, Sonia (2009). ‘Beyond NGO-ization? Reflections from Latin America’. Development 52:2.

Angulo, Gloria and Christian Freres (2006). ‘Gender equality and EU development policy towards Latin Americain Lister, Marjorie, Carbone, Maurizio (eds.), New Pathways in International Development: Gender and Civil Society in EU Policy. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Briceno, J. (2010). ‘From the South American Free Trade Area to the Union of South American Nations: The Transformations of a Rising Regional Process”. Latin American Policy 1:2.

Carbone, Maurizio (2008). ‘Mission Impossible: The European Union and Policy Coherence for Development’. Journal of European Integration 30:3.

Casteneda, J (2006). ‘Latin Americas Left Turn’. Foreign Affairs May June.

Debusscher, Petra (2012). Gender Mainstreaming in European Union Development Policy toward Latin America. Transforming Gender Relations or Confirming Hierarquies? Latin American Perspectives 187, 39:6.

Di Nucci, Luis A (2008). Hacia una sociología de género: analisis FODA para estimar la visión integradora de los impactos de género en el Mercosur. Monografia FLACSO.

Duina, Francisco (2006). The Social Construction of Free Trade. The European Union, NAFTA and Mercosur. Princeton University Press.

Espino, Alma (2008). Impacting Mercosur’s Gender Policies, Experiences, Lessons Learned and ongoing work of civil society in Latin America. Paper presented at the Montreal International Forum 2008.

Espino, Alma, Irene van Staveren (2002). Instruments for gender equality in trade agreements: European Union, Mercosur, Mexico. Brussels: WIDE.

European Commission (2010). Position Paper. Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) of the Association Agreement under negotiation between the European Union and Mercosur. July 2010.

Fawcett, L Andrew Hurrell (1996). Regionalism in World Politics: Regional Organization and International Order. Clarendon Press.

Friedman, Elisabeth Jay (2009). ‘Re(gion)alizing Women’s Human Rigths in Latin America. Politics & Gender 5, pp.349-375.

Grugel, J.B. (2004). ‘New approaches and modes of governance– comparing US and EU strategies in Latin America’. European Journal of International Relations, 10:4.

Herz, Monica, Andrea Ribeiro Hoffmann (2010). Regional Governance in Latin America: Institutions and Normative Discourses in the Post-Cold War Period.” In International Management and International Relations: a critical perspective from Latin America edited by Guedes, Ana and Alex Faria. New York: Routledge, Abingdon, UK.

Hinojosa, Leonith (2008). ‘EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement: Potential Impacts on Rural Livelihoods and Gender’. Brooks World Poverty Institute. Working Papers 81.

Jelin, Elizabeth, Teresa Valdes and Line Bareiro (1998). ‘Gender and Nationhood in Mercosur. Notes for approaching the object.’ UNESCO/MOST Discussion Paper nr. 24.

Oelsner, Andrea (2012). The Institutional Identity of Regional Organizations, Or Mercosur’s Identity Crisis. International Studies Quarterly. 

Orsino, Susana (2009) Los procesos de institutionalización de los mecanismos regionales para la equidad de género: Reunóon Especializada de la Mujer del Mercosur (REM). Available at http://www.mercosurmujeres.org/userfiles/file/Orsino.pdf (accessed on 15/01/2013)

Ratton, Michelle (2007). ‘Is there any room for input and control legitimacy by civil society in Mercosur?’, in A. Ribeiro Hoffmann and A. van der Vleuten (eds), Closing or Widening the Gap? Legitimacy and Democracy in Regional Integration Organizations, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Ribeiro Hoffmann (2004) Foreign Policy of the European Union towards Latin American Southern Cone States (1980-2000): Has it become more cooperative? Cases of Foreign Direct Investment and Agricultural Trade. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.

Ribeiro Hoffmann (2010) Between Power Politics and Utopia: a Brazilian perspective on European international role.” In The study of Europe, edited by Hauke Brunkhorst and Gerd Groezinger. Baden Baden: Nomos.

Rodriguez, Graciela (without date) Negociaciones UE / Mercosur: consolidando antiguas desigualdades. http://www.seminariovirtual.com.ar/seminario2008/Negociaciones-Rodriguez... (retrieved February 25, 2013).

Roett, Riordan, ed. (1999). Mercosur: Regional Integration, World Markets. Lynne Rienner.

Secretaria de Politicas para as Mulheres (2011). Politica Nacional de Enfrentamento a Violência contra as mulheres. Brasília. Available at http://spm.gov.br/publicacoes-teste/publicacoes/2011/politica-nacional. Accessed on 10 Feb 2013.

Van der Vleuten, A., Ribeiro Hoffmann, A. (2004). ‚Explaining the Enforcement of Democracy by Regional Organizations: Comparing EU, Mercosur and SADC’. Journal of Common Market Studies, 48:3 (2010):737-758

Van Staveren, Irene (2003). Monitoring Gender Impacts of Trade. European Journal of Development Research 15(1).

Vigevani, T. (1998). Mercosul: impactos para trabalhadores e sindicatos, São Paulo. Ed LTr.

Related Content

  • Dossier: Europe – a Gender Equality Project?

    Over the past few decades, the EU has made progress in terms of gender equality, but many challenges remain. The next European elections will show whether the “Gender equality project Europe” can be continued and improved or whether the majority of the conservative or right-wing populist to radical right-wing forces, who oppose emancipative gender equality policy, gain the upper hand.

0 Comments

Add new comment

Add new comment