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Gender and Governance

Summary and Keywords

Gender has been conceptualized in various ways in the mainstream governance literature and critical feminist work. The relationship between the concepts of gender and governance can be viewed as governance of gender and gender governance. The governance of gender is related to the way in which the values that permeate governance reflect traditional gender regimes. On the other hand, gender governance concerns governance in policy areas that, in the first instance, directly deal with women's issues. Gender governance is about the attempts to change gender regimes by inserting new policies, procedures, and values through global and multilevel governance, for example via the UN and the EU. In feminist studies that have focused on the state, the literature that is of particular interest to governance studies looks at the role of the state in gender relations. It studies, for example, the representation of women in electoral bodies and parties, theorizes representation in political bodies, and looks at the organization of welfare politics. In the field of international relations, feminist scholars are particularly interested in exploring the gender aspects of globalization and how the neoliberal order organizes women's lives. Governance has also been explored in relation to the EU and the term multilevel governance has become a standard concept in EU studies. The concept gender regime or gender order has been used by many researchers who study gender governance in the EU context.

Keywords: gender, gender governance literature, governance of gender, feminist theory, state governance, international relations, global governance


The term governance recognizes that habits and beliefs are important determinants of how institutions, including governments, legal systems, corporations, and other nonstate organizations, work in practice. Governance has been used by foreign assistance agencies to focus on the attitudes and values that are needed to make democracies effective beyond formal electoral politics and to describe processes that make it possible to integrate the policies and preferences of states and interest groups in supranational organizations like the European Union.

The work of Brush (2003) and Duerst-Lahti and Kelly (1995) suggests that the relationship between the two concepts, gender and governance, can be viewed in different ways. Two categories for gender analysis of governance are useful in this essay, governance of gender and gender governance. Governance produce[s] gender difference and male dominance as it marks meaning, establishes and contests terrain and otherwise organize[s] power in collective life (Brush 2003:51). Gender relations are relations of power, so we can assume that governance has traditionally privileged men and masculinity while marginalizing women and their concerns. Much of the data produced by the UN, especially the gender disaggregated data from UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women), affirm that gender differences are visible in every arena, from security and the economy to welfare and political representation. Although an important concern, the gender effects of governance on peoples lives will not be developed here. The focus is on the institutions and processes of governance. As Shirin Rai (2008:36) tells us, governance opens up a possibility to look at the performativity of gender power. Judith Butlers concept of performativity is central to gender power because it is through the performance of economic, political, and social roles that meanings about what it is to be a man or a woman are recognized and reproduced, in turn producing gender hierarchies (Butler 1990).

This essay looks at how gender has been conceptualized in the mainstream governance literature and in critical feminist work. It treats governance of gender as related to the way in which the values that permeate governance reflect traditional gender regimes. The ways in which institutions produce policies and actions have gender effects and the section on security governance exemplifies this. On the other hand, gender governance concerns governance in policy areas that, in the first instance, directly deal with womens issues. Gender governance is about the attempts to change gender regimes by inserting new policies, procedures, and values through global and multilevel governance, for example via the UN and the EU.

The essay begins by discussing the literature on gender and state governance. It then reviews the literature on gender and global governance, with an emphasis on the role of the United Nations. The third section discusses the literature on gender in multilevel governance by focusing on the adoption and implementation of rules on equal pay in the EU. Then the essay revisits some of the most valued approaches to governance, stakeholder participation and networking, and argues that they may be a hindrance rather than a help to promoting gender equity in governance. The essay concludes by illustrating how global governance produces gendered effects, exemplified by the case of security and masculinity. Each section provides an overview of the main theoretical arguments and empirical findings addressed in the literature, and concludes with suggestions for future research.

Gender and Governance at State Level

The governance literature is a reaction to and critique of the focus on the state, the role of governments and the state system in the policy process. A focus on states, as suggested by the global and multilevel governance literature, is insufficient due to the globalization of politics. Globalization has changed the way agendas are set, decisions are made, and implementation is carried out. Governance is a term that encompasses a broad set of steering mechanisms. The concept of governance is used to avoid a sharp distinction between what goes on within states and what happens outside states. One trend in the research on governance is to treat governance simply as an empirical fact to be studied, the result of empirical observations and an effect of globalization. The report of the UN Commission on Global Governance (1995; see 1, accessed Aug. 18, 2009) exemplifies the empirical use of the governance terminology when it defines governance as the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken. This type of governance literature suggests that there is more of everything, that is, more actors are involved in governance processes (companies, social movement organizations, local authorities, womens agencies, supranational institutions, etc.), as is evident in works by James Rosenau, Oran Young, Jan Aarts Scholte, Thomas Weiss, and others. Multilevel governance captures the increasing fluidity of governance across norms and institutions as politics and decision making extend out from governments to private and civil society actors. These processes challenge state authority but also corporate power. This shift from government to governance is both an explanation to account for the change of globalization and a way to deal with the problem of states inability to respond to that change (Rai 2008:37f.).

Parts of the governance literature are highly critical of the limits of hierarchical and topdown state policy making, often labeled as old forms of governance, based on command and control regulations. The policy making of state governments is often pitted against governance forms like market based, voluntary, and informational instruments (Trieb et al. 2007). In the governance literature, the role of the state and governments has been considered to be in decline, hopelessly outmoded and ineffective. The development report of the World Bank for 1990–2 exemplifies a fervent case made against the state. States are perceived as the problem, obstructing the function and expansion of markets, says Shirin Rai (2008:27). Yet, development in governance over the years shows that the state remains one actor among many. In global and multilevel governance this is clearly so. Stakeholder partnerships and networks are often viewed as new governance forms; however, in many instances they involve states and are based on the continued operation of traditional regulatory ways and policies. It should by noted, as Niraja Jayal (2003:97) does, that governance has had quite distinct imperatives in the North and the South. In the North it has been about privatization and liberalization, a result of inefficient welfare bureaucracies. In the South, governance has been seen as the remedy of slow and efficient development.

In Gender and Governance, Lisa Brush (2003) discusses governance processes within states, which is also the case in the collection edited by Duerst-Lahti and Kelly (1995) on Gender Power, Leadership, and Governance. They define governance as the process of implementing modern state power (1995:12), prioritizing the state as a privileged authority. The governance literature that looks at processes within the state argues that the pressures from global actors and processes have changed the states role to that of a manager of these processes rather than a sovereign authority. There are many similarities in these literatures, most notable is that they all recognize the importance of nonstate actors and the fragmentation of authority (cf. Pierre and Peters 2000).

Feminist studies, in the past, have focused on the state, and this literature may also be highly relevant in looking at gender and governance. The literature that is of particular interest to governance studies looks at the role of the state in gender relations. It studies, for example, the representation of women in electoral bodies and parties (e.g., Norris 1987; Lovenduski 2005; Dahlerup 2006), theorizes representation in political bodies (e.g., Phillips 1995; Young 2000), and looks at the organization of welfare politics (Sainsbury 1996). Comparative studies on how state governments have dealt with representation and the inclusion of womens groups and interest in the policy making process in various issue areas can also be useful to understand gender and governance (Mazur 2001; Stetson McBride 2001; Outshoorn 2004; Haussman and Sauer 2007). Such studies offer inputs to the analysis of gender governance. Because this literature seldom questions state authority, it does not explicitly relate to one of the most important themes of the governance literature and will be left out of this essay. Feminist state theory, gender order, and organizational theory will be briefly introduced because they are interesting for studying gender and governance.

As evident in Johanna Kantolas (2006) book on feminist state theory, there is no consensus in the feminist literature on how to perceive the state. According to radical feminist theory, the state is a vehicle for dominant interest in society and Catherine MacKinnon (1989:162), in talking about the liberal state, says that it constitutes the social order in the interest of men as a gender. Interests that benefit men are embodied in the state. Thus, the findings in the governance literature, that the states power is shrinking at the expense of other actors, offers a possibility for womens and feminist groups to increase their influence. In contrast to MacKinnons view, many Scandinavian feminists view the state as responsive to womens concerns. Scandinavian states have a reasonable gender representation in politics and fairly extensive welfare policies (Hernes 1987). It follows that womens interests may very well influence the national interest, particularly when political institutions are gender balanced. Governance, as the decline of authority of the state at the expense of, for example, market actors and principles, tends to undermine welfare policies. Another effect is on the decline in the representation of women. When decision making moves out of the hands of governmental, but representative political bodies to other actors, accountability and principles of transparency cannot be assured. These different views on the state also suggest two contrasting views on governance.

A specific gender regime frames how gender is understood by those living within it, including the degree to which the genders are seen as equal or different or are associated with different kinds of labor. The male breadwinner/female caregiver model in the economic welfare domain is one example, as is the male soldier/female caregiver-victim in the security and defense domain. The gender order is symbolic but finds concrete expression in institutional practices, and in laws and regulation including tax, labor and conscription laws, subsidies, and social policies. Gender regimes vary between states and governance areas, across cultures and over time. Different gender regimes may produce resistance to gender policies and implementation, but they can also become an impetus for change (Liebert 2003; Prgl 2004; Walby 2004; Von Wahl 2005; MacRae 2006).

The essays in Duerst-Lahti and Kellys book on Gender Power, Leadership, and Governance (1995) pay particular attention to gendered organizational practices within institutions. They do so in order to examine how gender affects practices of power and decision making and how symbols, myths, and concepts in organizational practice (organizational culture) re-confirm, but may also shape, normative assumptions about gender relations. Gendered organizational analysis, with classical work by Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1977) and Kathy Ferguson (1984), seems useful to understand how institutions work although they do not use the term governance. Two well-known gender strategies, gender mainstreaming and gender balancing, deal with institutional and organizational change. Gender mainstreaming asks policy makers in specific fields to consider and evaluate gender implication of their policies and activities. For example, traffic planners in the transport sector need to consider what effects their plans have in respect to women and mens different travel patterns. Gender balancing, on the other hand, is about the relative numbers of men and women in elected, management, or clerical positions.

The organizational literature is concerned with how gender relations are constructed, challenged, and may even be reshaped within institutions through routines and practices (Hearn et al. 1989; Alvesson and Billing 1997; Hearn and Parkin 2001). Butlers (1990) notion of gender and gender power, as constructed through performance, comes to mind. The organizational literature discusses how masculinity and femininity are performed through daily practices within organizations. Moss Kanter (1977) analyzes gender power in the corporate sector while Ferguson (1984) provides a critical feminist analysis of state bureaucracies. Her critique of the hierarchical organization of state bureaucracies that marginalize womens interests, echoes the critique of the governance literature.

The gender of governance in organizations is both conceptual and practical. In this respect Hearn and Parkin (2001:xii) urges us to pay particularly attention to the silent unspoken, not necessarily easily observable, but fundamentally material reality of institutions. The absence of overt reference to gender in organizations does not mean that gender is absent. On the contrary, the normality may actually hide a specific expression of gender, the male as norm or a specific masculinity being the norm. Such studies are methodologically tricky because they study what is not articulated. One way to get at underlying gendered norms is to look at organizational practices and procedures (Kronsell 2006). When an institution is pressured to adopt gender policy, this appears as something new and added on. New thinking has to be introduced, coaxed, and enforced. By contrast, the status quo seems gender neutral, even though it is not. Gender is resisted as something outside the institution and external to its norms and practices. Gender mainstreaming, for example, is often dismissed as a womans concern as if men were not involved, and women can be patronized as victims. While it does not explicitly deal with governance in most cases, gendered organizational theory focuses on institutional processes and practices and can potentially include the analysis of nonstate actors as well as actors within states.

The work of Barnett and Finnemore exemplifies the usefulness of organizational theory in analyzing how international institutions work (2004). They argue that all bureaucratic organizations have in common being a distinctive social form that exercises authority in particular ways (2004:9) as organizations. Associated with this organizational form are both benefits they are influential in setting the agenda and framing global issues but also drawbacks, in that organizations also develop pathologies, as they call it. The male being the norm may be seen as a pathology for international institutions.

Gender and Global Governance

In general, the International Relations (IR) literature on global governance does not include gender aspects and the literature on gender and IR rarely deals explicitly with governance. The literature on governance is too vast to summarize in detail here, but there are some different directions worth noting. Taking the Global Governance Reader (Wilkinson 2005) as representative of the field, we find three distinct approaches to global governance. First, governance is seen in empirical terms derived from the observation of current global processes. This literature highlights how international regimes and institutions have expanded their activities, for example, as a result of increased NGO and private sector involvement in international relations (Rosenau 2005). Scholars may explicitly recognize the role of womens movement organizations (e.g., Clark et al. 2005), but it is not an important focus. These authors emphasize that authority is no longer in the hands of governments and established intergovernmental institutions, but is dispersed among private and voluntary actors, across sectors, and they often look at the interconnections between levels of governance.

A second approach takes these empirical findings to discuss how governance processes can be improved, arguing that global governance can become good governance, increasing legitimacy and accountability (Weiss 2005; Keohane 2005). The discussion of good governance is common within policy circles of the EU and OECD and also in foreign assistance programs to support democratization as well as address the shortcomings of neoliberal marketization (Nussbaum 2003). There are some obvious affinities between the goals of good governance and the ambitions of womens movements, such as increased democratic representation and the rule of law, but these are rarely discussed.

A third approach to global governance is informed by critical theory. This approach questions the findings of empirical and good governance research as associated with structures that are globalizing the world along neoliberal lines (Murphy 2005). Murphy and other critical political economy scholars maintain that contemporary patterns of governance give greater weight to capital than to democratic forces (Gill 2005). These scholars portray womens movements as global social actors who are resisting globalization and formulate alternatives to the consolidation of a neoliberal order. The review will discuss these approaches in greater detail, beginning with the critical theory approach, and then looking at other feminist perspectives.

Feminist critical IR scholars are particularly interested in exploring the gender aspects of globalization and how the neoliberal order organizes womens lives. Spike Peterson has developed a feminist International Political Economy (IPE) that integrates reproductive, productive, and virtual global economies. To her, governance is about a disciplinary neoliberalism that, as she says, seek[s] to free markets from societal control and impose the logic of marketization on politics (Peterson 2003:157). Other feminist work on globalization also emphasizes the ways in which globalization has produced a neoliberal order that shapes state actions and individual lives (Sisson Runyan 1999; Hallock Johnson 1999).

According to Peterson, the process of marketization shapes and transforms governance. The transformation takes place on several levels and connects them. For example, individuals are transformed into consumers as consumption becomes a way of life. The marketization of individuals means their bodies are commercialized, most explicitly when bodies are sold in trafficking, sex tourism, and bride markets. On the state level, marketization increases the role that corporate capital and financial markets have at the expense of the state and civil society. In Petersons view, neoliberal globalization has insured that marketization takes place. States are decreasing their provision of social services and welfare (Petersen 2003:15760). Spike Petersen connects reproductive, productive, and virtual economies (for example, financial markets) to show how marketization reinforces gendered and racialized divisions of labor (Petersen 2003:112; see also Pettman 1996:157207). In the productive system, or the formal economy, the feminization of employment means the overrepresentation of women in insecure, low-paying and often hazardous work conditions (Petersen 2003:76).

Petersen also shows that neoliberal globalization creates new forms of masculinities and femininities on the micro or individual level while remaking earlier gender regimes. One example is the restructuring of the concept and lived experience of the family as a result of the transnational migration of domestic workers who are, for the most part, women. These women become the main providers for their own families while their reproductive work is used and often exploited in informal economies of richer countries. At the same time, marketization is restructuring the gender relations of families in the North. The provision of domestic work by a migrant woman liberates the woman in that family from domestic work, so that she can get a formal sector job, which increases her economic independence and autonomy. The neoliberal order thus provides both opportunities and constraints for individuals while creating new gender formations. The point is, however, that it does not necessarily change the power relations of the neoliberal order.

One effect of globalization is that womens and feminist groups and their concerns have been excluded from global governance. This is discussed in critical theory using the concept of resistances. Petersen and Runyan (1999:163; see also 2005:22643) argue that the politics of feminist resistance consists of critical masses of female political actors who do challenge gender dichotomies and are found outside of formal power structures. They focus on how resistance groups acquire agency, that is, how they mobilize and create a space for themselves as actors in the global governance context, for example putting new issues on the global agenda. As we will see in the literature reviewed in this section, these attempts have been particularly successful in UN conferences and in changing the practices of UN agencies, while establishing new international norms. At this point, the critical perspective merges with a different line of feminist research on the way in which new forms of global gender governance has arisen from womens and feminist movements working to change global governance processes and institutions. They were particularly successful in the postCold War decade of the 1990s (Prgl and Meyer 1999:5). This line of research is mainly based on case studies in specific issue areas.

The Decade for Women (1976–85) pushed the UN to move on womens issues and concerns, and led to a series of UN conferences and conventions relating to womens rights, violence against women, and women and development issues. The Nairobi Conference in 1985, that marked the end of the Decade, helped consolidate a transnational womens movement of grassroots activists and researchers. Although there were activities in a wide variety of areas, their efforts were particularly successful in influencing the Vienna Conference on Human Rights of 1993, the Cairo Conference on Population in 1994, and in setting the agenda for the womens conference held in Beijing in 1995 to assess the results of the Womens Decade (see Winslow 1995; Prgl and Meyer 1999; Friedman et al. 2005:42). Friedman et al. argue that the experience NGOs had during the Decade and after, some in conferences and networks devoted to womens issues and others on different global issues like population, human rights, and sustainable development, allowed them to improve their networking and lobbying skills. They built successful coalitions using a womens caucus mechanism that channeled womens demands. They learned to participate in preparatory meetings and develop contacts with the official delegations and the media (Friedman et al. 2005:456; see also Winslow 1995). These strategies were successful in putting feminist issues on the agenda of UN governance with important contributions to the area of UN gender governance.

Friedman et al. (2005:24) claim that the success of this form of feminist resistance is due to the nature of the UN as both an intergovernmental organization of nation-states and an adaptive transnational organization that reflects emerging non-state-based values and interests. Barnett and Finnemore (2004:164) argue similarly that the international institutions they studied (UN Security Council, UNHCR, and IMF) have autonomous influence and the constitutive power to define interests, deploy human and financial resources, and persuade others to accept new preferences and new policy goals (see also Keck and Sikkink 1998). These organizations help set the agenda for the direction of global governance through, for example, predictable conference cycles. They are expected to respond to global problems and have become increasingly open to participation, direct and indirect, by nonstate actors. Issues that may be difficult to raise domestically can be put on the global agenda, as is illustrated by Jutta Joachims research (2003) on the problem of violence against women. Concerns previously seen as private or taboo, from violence to reproductive rights, can be reframed through the efforts of NGOs working through the opportunities provided by the UN organizational structure. In light of these insights the lack of commitments to new global conferences for global gender governance are troubling.

The gender governance trend sped up and perhaps reached its peak in the decade following the end of the Cold War, which increased the UNs role because it freed up agenda space (Joachim 1999:151). The UN and other international organizations emerged as moral actors in global affairs (Barnett and Finnemore 2004:165), bringing a new kind of thinking on international relations. For example, when the concept of security became less associated with the military capacity of states and more sensitive to the well-being of individuals (Joachim 2003:260), it could more easily reflect a feminist interpretation of security (Tickner 1992; 2001:3664). The emphasis on human security made womens issues more relevant to the work in international organizations while providing an opportunity to reframe reproductive rights and violence against women as a common concern across nations. An example of the new approach to security was the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UN SCR 1325) which built on the foundation of human security resolutions adopted in 1999 (True-Frost 2007:156). UN SCR 1325 was followed by a decision in June 2008, UN SCR 1820, which strengthens the ban on sexual violence in war.

In light of recent developments of the international order, with security threats of terrorism and more hostile relations between large powers, the UN and particularly the Security Council may become less open to the influence described above. It is likely that such a closure will make it difficult for womens, feminist, and other nonstate groups to influence issues and agendas. Taking into account the wars on terror, the global financial crises and the threat of climate change, it seems important to ask: what happens to the responsiveness of the UN toward womens and feminist groups and what happens to the UN as an agenda setter and promoter of gender governance?

The UN as an important arena for putting womens issues on the international agenda has also inspired the transnationalization of feminism and the feminist movement (Winslow 1995; West 1999; Rai 2004). To prepare for conferences, NGOs and other civil society actors from different regions and ideological perspectives were able to join forces and create transnational alliances of NGOs concerned with, for example, violence against women (Keck and Sikkink 1998:16598; Joachim 1999) and reproductive rights (Higer 1999). Joachims (2003) study shows that in both issue areas the agency of NGOs is important their ability to mobilize, forge effective alliances, and take leadership roles.

Global governance institutions may, in Petersens (2003) Petersen terminology, constitute a gendered neoliberal order but it is not a permanent one. Institutions can be both constraining and empowering at the same time (Joachim 2003:270). Resistances that have formed in response to neoliberalism have themselves been aided by the globalization processes, particularly by changes in communications technologies. This is particularly clear in the formation of transnational feminist and womens movements. Thus, women can also use institutions and are not simply victims of them. By engaging in gender governance they can also affect the gender of governance, to use the categories introduced in this essay. There are opportunities for groups to change the agenda and role of global institutions and they can be empowered through that activity (Keck and Sikkink 1998). In the case of UN SCR 1325, True-Frost (2007:154) points specifically to what she calls an advocacy network, the Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, a network with contacts globally, across womens NGOs and with grassroots groups and women in conflict areas.

It is very likely that the conditions for gender governance vary between international institutions; the UN has a much broader social agenda than, for example, the IMF or the WTO where global economic rules are made. These institutions, Debra Liebowitz (2008) concludes, have been subject to a massive increase in feminist activism. However, when trying to influence global economic governance, feminists have had many tough battles to gain recognition for gender perspectives that are not easily understood by actors in economic debates. Kate Bedford (2008:85f.) argues, on the subject of the World Bank, that it provides opportunities for feminist interventions, particularly due to its recent shift in mission to embrace social concerns. Louise Chappell (2008:182) sees a transformative potential in the International Criminal Court because activists have a tool in the gender norms of its statutes, to get recognition for womens experience of war and conflict. A conclusion here is that there is a great potential for studying gender and governance in this field, particularly as womens and feminist organizations are engaging more broadly with governance in economic, financial, and scientific international institutions.

A caveat for womens organizations and feminist activism would be that resistance and agency require the mobilization of resources, whether those are money, community or knowledge (Stienstra 1999:271). Civil society activities at all levels are resource intensive, giving an advantage to those who come from countries in the rich North. The participation of women and feminist NGOs at global events and their monitoring of international institutions need to be weighed against the negative factors, which include diversion of time and scarce resources into an overwhelmed, often politically compromised international system with weak direct enforcement power (Miller 1999:174). The lack of enforcement power is a problem, even in the rich North, as we see when we look more closely at the impact of gender equality policies in eastern and central European countries as part of EU conditionality. Lack of progress there has also been attributed to the lack of resources of feminist and womens groups in those countries (Galligan and Clavero 2007). Although institutions like the UN and the EU have increased their ability to set the agenda, their ability to assure compliance with new norms has proven to be quite weak.

A feminist analysis of global governance would look at how resistances translated into womens and feminist movements and groups have actively challenged the way governance practices are gendered in international institutions. If we measure success in terms of the degree to which womens and feminist movements have become recognized as legitimate participants in global governance and the extent to which gender issues have been put on the global agenda, these efforts have been successful. Yet, the share of women in global decision making remains low, particularly when we go outside the issue areas that are not traditionally defined as womens issues. Gender mainstreaming has fallen short of expectations.

Multilevel Gender Governance in the EU

Governance has been explored in relation to the EU and the term multilevel governance (MLG) has become a standard concept in EU studies. MLG is interesting because while it has its empirical base in the EU, it can be used to analyze the dynamics between multiple levels of authority and multiple actor engagement in contemporary global governance. The research on the development of EU gender equality norms has something important to say about MLG. It is relevant to gender governance in particular because supranational gender equality norms have emerged and been implemented in this context.

EU governance has become an integral part of politics and policy making in the member states (Ladrech 1994:68). In the MLG literature it is commonly said that domestic politics are increasingly becoming intertwined with EU policies at all levels of governance. This is not a topdown process but more like the weaving of strands of issues and trends across traditional borders and administrative levels (Grande 1996:325f.). Authority is fragmented (Zrn 2000:185) and regulations are so intertwined that they cannot easily be separated. EU institutions are not autonomous from national bodies (Hooghe and Marks 2000).

In her work on the influence of EU directives on the German gender regime, Heather MacRae describes European governance spaces as overlapping arenas of policy, norms, values, power relations and social interactions (2006:528). In this sense, multilevel governance is neither hierarchical nor anarchical. Rather, there is an overlapping patchwork of functional and politically contested sources of authority (Germain 2007:62) and political authority is neither centralized nor decentralized but shared (Neyer 2003:689). MLG moves beyond the unitary state, interest groups, and supranational norms to encompass a complex system of interactions, actors, and shifting authorities. There is no single dominant source of authority across issues, yet there are ordered and ordering governance arrangements.

As a term, MLGs apparent neutrality has made it susceptible to different interpretations and compatible with various theoretical approaches (DeBardeleben and Hurrelmann 2007:3). Anna Van der Vleuten (2007) uses the MLG approach in her research on the emergence of gender governance in the EU. Her case study is typical of the methodology used in the research of gender governance in the EU. In a comparative case study she analyzed the development of EU gender equality policies from 1955 to 2005, looking particularly at France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Although she uses member states as a starting point, Van der Vleuten shows that it was the MLG system that made states accept and later implement gender equality directives, although these policies were perceived as economically and ideologically costly at the state level. Although the states were contrary, the EU structure of multilevel governance sandwiched member states between domestic and supranational levels, with political and legal pressure coming from many layers and actors simultaneously (2007:182), creating a pincer effect. The pincer effect is particularly useful to ensure that agreements entered into by member states are in fact implemented. Supranational pressures come, for example, with the political prestige associated with intergovernmental negotiations and agreements as well as through EU court rulings. Domestic pressures originate in the political and party system, in the domestic courts, and in civil society. Feminists and womens groups are most effective when they work in transnational networks, including women trade union representatives and femocrats working in tandem with EU-level womens lobby groups. The development of gender governance in the EU forced states to address perceived economic costs of reforms and ideological issues around the meaning of gender and gender relations.

The concept gender regime or gender order has been used by many researchers who study gender governance in the EU context (Liebert 2003; Prgl 2004; Walby 2004; Von Wahl 2005; MacRae 2006). Gender regime is a useful concept for at least two reasons: it highlights the fact that there are differences among states and among actors regarding how gender is conceptualized, and it helps develop an understanding of gender as a constructed order that is visible in institutions and practices. Elisabeth Prgl (2008:47) suggests that gender orders are conduits of power because they construct and empower the subject while, at the same time, they normalize power. These come to the fore in different policy dimensions, sectors, and domains. Prgl looks particularly at the gender order of European agricultural markets.

For example, Heather MacRae (2006) explores the role of the pincer effect in studying the impact of EU directives on the German gender regime. The EU emphasized the participation of women in the labor force, using the ideal of equality in contrast to the breadwinner model based on gender difference, still prevalent in Germany and many member states (MacRae 2006:910). (When Germany was divided, the gender regime in East Germany reflected a Soviet and socialist influence. After the reunification, former East Germany like other former Soviet states, now members of the EU, have reframed gender to be based on difference.) Hence, the supranational norm equal pay for equal work (Treaty of Rome, 1957, Article 119) required member states to change their laws and challenged their existing gender regimes (Liebert 2002; 2003). In Germany, this resulted in several clashes between states and European institutions. The European Court of Justice played a pivotal role because norms (directives) agreed to by the Court have to be transposed and implemented in the member states (Cichowski 2004). Hence, they become a part of the body of national law that national justices are required to apply. The sandwiching or pincer effect changed the German gender regime.

Divergent gender regimes in member states can lead to different interpretations of the meaning and reach of EU gender governance, which is viewed as quite progressive in European countries where womens representation and participation in politics and the labor force have been relatively low. In Ireland, for example, more rights associated with womens citizenship have come as a result of Irelands membership in the EU than from national sources (Gardiner 1999). Another example is the latest accession of new member states, which involved a significant degree of topdown policy transposition from the supranational EU to the new member states. MLG has made gender equity a priority in term of improving the legal standing of women in the new member states and seeing gender as a democratic value. Perhaps more surprising, it has also had an important effect in member states that are perceived as having progressive gender regimes. In Denmark, for example, EU policy decisions became an effective way to challenge discriminatory policies at the national level (Martinsen 2007:547).

In the context of EU gender governance, market principles that aim to create a level playing field have been instrumental in advancing gender equality. One single norm of equal pay validated by the supranational court system developed the EUs competence on gender equality issues (Frith 2008). MLG created pressure for implementation at the member state level, challenging both legal and attitudinal dimensions of member state gender regimes. This suggests that, in some instances, the neoliberal order can advance gender governance. The appeal to market principles worked better than gender mainstreaming and other soft law instruments.

When the most important EU norm is the idea of a borderless single market, citizens are reduced to workers and gender issues are narrowed to the terms of womens employment in the neoliberal market (Walby 2004:57). The dominance of neoliberalism in the EU has affected the social welfare systems in member states with important gendered consequences, as women more than men depend on social welfare. Anna Van der Vleuten (2007:12) is more optimistic about the ability of MLG to advance gender governance because the EU Court has some authority. The Court has, slowly and carefully, reinterpreted equality in the market to include human rights by emphasizing another goal of the EU, promoting peace and progress among its citizens. In what follows we will look more closely at how gender governance looks when we go beyond gender equality norms to gender mainstreaming in the MLG context of the EU.

The absence of gender in the EU White Paper on Governance published in 2000 as a blueprint for future governance of the enlarged Union, as well as the absence of gender mainstreaming in the consultation processes following its publication, acts as a reminder of the still insecure place of gender in EU priorities (Shaw 2002:225f.; Galligan and Clavero 2007:21718). Gender mainstreaming, as a governance principle, differs much from equality norms. It is a policy strategy and a soft law instrument adopted at the EU level in 1990 (Caporaso and Jupille 2001; Mazey 2002). In the EU, soft law is the term used for various policies that are not binding on the member states, but nevertheless indicate a policy direction or intention. Gender mainstreaming originated with the womens movement in the development context in the 1980s, became part of global gender governance through the Beijing Conference in 1995 (Beveridge and Shaw 2002:209), and in the EU at the same time. The Fourth Action Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (1996–2000) featured mainstreaming as the single most important element (Hafner-Burton and Pollack 2002:295). Gender mainstreaming calls for gender perspectives to be incorporated in all policy areas, stages, and levels and emphasizes the need to look at gender, not just women. It has a radical potential because it widens the policy frame and expands ideas about the broader structural and institutional causes of gender inequality and discrimination (Liebert 2002:250). But the potential success of gender mainstreaming in the EU context, Maria Stratigaki argues (2005:178, 181), has been hampered because it requires fundamental changes in long-embedded social relations and challenges the gender distribution of power. Since it is a soft law, the European Court of Justice cannot play a significant role. Implementation is left to the political will of specific actors, and requires a policy environment that is gender friendly. Without the involvement of courts, it is harder to produce the pincer effect.

In MLG, womens and feminist groups introduce gender issues and press for and monitor the implementation of gender policies. The highly institutionalized nature of civil society involvement is a distinctive feature of the MLG process, and differentiates civil society activism in the EU from that in other regions and countries. The EU Commission initiates and monitors policy making; because of a relative small administration it has limited expert resources on its own. The EU Commission values its relations with EU-wide interest groups that provide valuable expertise while serving as representatives of citizens interests. The Commission encourages transnational groups of all kinds, provides financial support to organizations with fewer resources, and has stimulated the formation of groups in key sectors. The European Womens Lobby is an example of a group that operates with EU support. Womens groups may be seen as outsiders groups in some settings, but not in Brussels (Greenwood 2007:183).

This has given European womens groups access, and helped them be successful in influencing the political agenda (Hoskyns 1996; Elman 2003). Many groups have a sponsor department in the Commission, and there is often a revolving door relationship between the groups and the directorate. This is the case between the relevant directorate (DG EMP) and both the European Womens Lobby and the European Trade Union Confederation (Greenwood 2007:182). However, although this secures resources and influence, the womens NGOs are at the mercy of the Commission. Kristin Edquist (2006:515) argues that the consensus-seeking character of EU governance means that organizations that are more radical, or more conflictive, do not have much chance to have their voices heard.

However, the institutionalization of NGOs within MLG means that they can lobby transnationally through specific EU based lobby groups while simultaneously maintaining their domestic connections. The domestic base of the NGOs allows the Commission to view them as channels to communicate with member state governments and populations. Organized civil society adds legitimacy to MLG, and also becomes a mechanism for public accountability in the absence of a common EU public sphere or EU-wide mass media. As Catherine Hoskyns argues, the Womens Lobby is particularly important because the patriarchal structures firmly in place in the EU can only be undermined through concerted action by a wide range of women forming alliances with other social groups (2000:58). However, transnational interest groups often compete fiercely in the EU political arena. Feminist and womens organizations must fight an uphill battle against powerful lobbies that influence policy making with significant gender implications. Business and industrial lobby groups are numerous, with far more resources than groups devoted to social issues. Rossilli (2000:5) warns us that MLG recognizes and even stresses that authority is fragmented, which tends to conceal hierarchies among actors and institutional levels. To say that power is fragmented does not rule out that it may be very unevenly distributed. Edquist (2006:516) observes that, in the competition over EU policy outcomes, NGOs often lose out to interest groups and member states, which are the most powerful players in EU governance.

Apart from NGOs, two other types of actors are important to EU gender governance: individuals and member states that take a leadership role. Stratigaki (2005:171) points to how individual women politicians and gender experts created a positive environment for gender equality. She traces the process that produced mainstreaming policies in the EU and highlights the importance of individual leadership at various levels. Again, however, it is women who actively raise gender issues, and they meet with a great deal of resistance, for example to gender mainstreaming. This is because gender mainstreaming interferes and clashes with other dominant policy frames in the EU structure, which are based on a hierarchical gender distribution of power (Stratigaki 2005:181).

In the context of multilevel governance, states are important actors but may have different approaches to issues of gender governance that reflect gender regimes at the domestic level (e.g., Von Wahl 2005). Individual states can take the character of leaders, or they can be laggards by resisting policy and implementation. France, as shown in Van der Vleutens (2007) study, was a leader or pro-gender equality state. France favored gender equality and pushed for equal pay provisions and feared it would be at a competitive disadvantage if these were not adopted by other member states. We can expect that in gender governance a laggard would delay and resist any new policy perceived to infringe upon the national gender regime. In general, laggards are problematic for gender governance in MLG. Thus, we might expect that in the formation of state preferences there will be a difference between the preferences expressed in intergovernmental negotiations of gender-friendly member states as opposed to those less benevolent. Evidence from the EU accession of Finland, Sweden, and Austria supports this interpretation; the addition of these states increased gender balance in EU decision making bodies and contributed to a more active gender agenda. The policy of gender mainstreaming in the EU was initiated by the Nordic countries (Hafner-Burton and Pollack 2002:295; Mazey 2002:229).

MLG in the EU is a highly interesting and dynamic field for research of gender governance. The addition of new members makes the analysis of clashes and convergences of gender regimes highly interesting and timely. The possibilities for research are many. To cover the area of the development of EU gender regimes suggests multiple, comparative case studies and studies that look at the policy making and legal dynamics between different member states, EU institutions, and civil society. Such studies could use and assess the notion of the pincer effect of MLG. The MLG framework could also be explored in the global context. Studies using gender order analysis could contribute to understanding how specific decisions are perceived, translated, and implemented in individual member states, regions, and sectors and how gender relations are conceptualized differently. These studies should not only focus on issues directly related to womens rights but analyze gender order also in other areas, for example agricultural, environmental, research, and structural policies.

Good Governance and Feminist Discontents: Stakeholder Participation and Networking

A normative and even prescriptive trend in the mainstream global governance literature is represented by the emphasis on good governance. What are the implications of new forms of global governance for gender sensitivity and for the inclusion of womens and feminist concerns? The quest for good governance has coincided with the third wave of democratization and has focused on a range of issues, from corruption and the rule of law to increased representation and participation (Nussbaum 2003; Rai 2004). There is growing concern about the phenomenon of failed states, which has also been linked to security through the argument that these territories may host international terrorist groups. The debate in the mainstream literature has largely focused on improving and reforming the functioning of democratic institutions, including the deepening of democracy and exploring more active and creative roles for non-state actors (Weiss 2005). In general, this global governance debate has benefited womens groups which were formerly outside the state-centered agenda of states and international bodies like the UN.

The limits of hierarchical and topdown governance arrangements are increasingly recognized in governance debates. Good governance is concerned with the issue of legitimacy, and how to increase the likelihood that policies arrived at through global or multilevel governance processes will in fact be implemented (Haas 2004). Legitimacy calls for wider participation in governance processes in response to what has been perceived as a crisis of legitimacy and a democratic deficit in national, regional, and global institutions in the era of globalization. Much faith has been put in what are often called new governance forms that deal with transnational problems through such mechanisms as publicprivate partnerships, networks, global civil society, and market incentives. Many argued that these processes are more effective in solving global problems than government action alone, in part because they encourage participation of concerned and affected actors. This fits well with the goal of promoting wider democratization, also advocated by feminists and womens groups. Yet, there is not much evidence that feminist research has engaged explicitly with the general debates on good governance either empirically or theoretically. There is an urgency that women and feminist scholars do so, and some suggestions for research follow.

In the UN context, good governance has been applied in several areas. Sustainable development is a good example. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Earth Summits, for example, gave increasing attention to include stakeholder groups by refashioning global governance arrangements to include civil society and business groups (Bckstrand 2006). Since the 1992 Environmental Conference in Rio, the stakeholder concept has been expanded to include marginalized groups, and this is perceived as a remedy for disenfranchisement in global environmental governance (Elliot 2004; Fisher and Green 2004). Multilateral financial institutions have responded to similar criticism by establishing consultative arrangements with civil society groups (Mason 2004), and the EU has developed similar mechanisms, like the social dialogue (Article 138 of the EC Treaty).

Stakeholder dialogues can be conceived of as participatory forms of governance with the potential to reconcile multilateral norms and connect local actors to the process by drawing on a diverse set of groups from civil society, government, and business. For example, different stakeholder groups with a consultative status at the UN include women, indigenous peoples, business, farmers, workers, etc. Although this is an attempt to democratize by providing a more formalized and transparent relationship between these groups and the UN, it reinforces the idea that women are an interest group like the others, and fails to see that women can also be relevant representatives of other groups, like workers, farmers, and business groups. This is a return to an assumption that stakeholder groups are gender neutral, allowing gender hierarchies within them to go unchallenged.

Including various stakeholders in policy making and implementation is a familiar process within many states and in the EU. Historically, and especially in the European tradition, corporatism has been a common form of governance of public and private relations. Corporatism relies on consensus-forming processes that take place outside the legal and political decision process. Corporatist forms of governance have been particularly effective in labor-industrial relations and seen as the basis of the Swedish model of reconciling competing social interests. Liberal democracies, like the UK and the US, have relied on lobbyism, a less institutionalized way to interact with economic and social groups. The EU, on the other hand, has combined the approaches.

Gender asymmetries are clearly evident within the powerful transnational actors at the EU level. Myriam Bergamaschi (2000:159) studied the European Trade Union Federation and concluded that although women form 40% of the total trade union membership, they are underrepresented in decision-making bodies. She saw no indication that the gender ratio was improving over time, and claims that women remain marginal to the collective bargaining process both at the national and the EU level (2000:16972) and also outside the EU (Jayal 2003:121). (This is also verified in the EU database on women and men in decision making in the social and economic sphere: see, accessed Aug. 18, 2009.) The relations between EU institutions and labor and capital interests tend to become increasingly institutionalized through the social dialogue and with the increasing use of soft law (Falkner 1998; Waddington and Hoffman 2000), meaning that an increasing number of agreements are made outside the political institutions, with negative effects on womens representation.

Van der Vleuten (2007) argues that trade union involvement in the EU has done little to put gender issues on the agenda (see also Bergqvist 2004). On the contrary, the fact that there are few women in trade union decision making bodies reflects a male-oriented bargaining agenda (Van der Vleuten 2007:154). Gender issues are not prioritized and may even be resisted. The lack of gender balance of interest groups representing labor is crucial, she argues. The gender composition of the social partners, i.e., employers organizations and trade unions, led them to oppose the equal pay principle, since the labor organization was more keen to represent the interests of male wage earners than those of part-time and underpaid women workers. Niraja Jayal (2003:118) looked at representation in business organizations in the US, Brazil, Canada, and Japan, and concluded that women are marginalized and excluded from decision making in the corporate sector.

This finding emphasizes the importance of the gender composition of all interest groups in pursuing gender equity goals. It is far from sufficient to just encourage the formation of specific womens groups in the UN and the EU; the gender composition of all stakeholder groups should be considered. This is also an important future research agenda for gender and governance. How does the gender composition of stakeholder groups influence the issue they pursue?

Networks in global governance can be defined as voluntary cooperative arrangements between actors from the public, business and civil society that display minimal degree of institutionalization, have common non-hierarchical decision-making structures and address public policy issues (Steets 2004:25). Networks capture the essence of global governance because they involve collaboration between market actors, governments, international organizations, and NGOs on a range of issues, many of which require specific expertise as well as normative engagement, such as sustainable development, climate change, water, AIDS, malaria prevention, and biodiversity protection, to name a few (Benner et al. 2003:1912). Networks are important multilateral governance forms and are also viewed as a more effective governance form (Jnsson et al. 1998; Peterson 2004; Schout and Jordan 2005).

Negotiations in policy making networks are typically about building trust and common understanding. They involve a small and immediately concerned set of actors, usually around a specific issue area. Networks are voluntary; they often span the public/private divide and represent soft and non-hierarchical steering that is often geared towards implementation and joint problem solving (Risse 2004), but can also be instrumental in raising new issues. Many studies that have been discussed earlier in this essay have pointed to the importance of womens networks in raising issues related to gender governance. In that literature, networks are viewed for the most part as a way for groups outside formal institutions and governance processes to get their voices heard. Networks, as they appear in the governance literature, are a way to describe contemporary governance. In this respect, there is virtually no research on networks from a feminist perspective. One exception is the work of Bretherton and Sperling (1996) which is critical to network theory and suggests that it can be enriched by including lessons from womens networks in the EU.

Proponents of networks argue that they are more effective because they can shortcut formal policy hierarchies and time-consuming bureaucracies and can connect local practices and global rules in a flexible, decentralized way. The work with the UN-initiated Agenda 21 in the UK and Sweden is one example (Lafferty and Eckerberg 1998). It connected governments, environmental agencies, local municipalities, and various civil society groups to the global initiative and the Rio process. These networks also prompted implementation (Bckstrand et al. 1996). A major drawback, however, is that network governance tends to undermine transparency and democratic accountability. Networks include various types of actors, some public, some private, whose representative practices can be obscure, and whose actions take place in a penumbra that makes it difficult to hold them accountable for decisions or actions taken.

Informality is a necessary element of networks. Elgstrm and Jnsson (2000:696) argue that this is the case because informality creates trust and feelings of solidarity between actors, fostering a consensus culture. Indeed, evidence from the EU shows that these features are highly valued. Informal ministerial meetings, for example, are deliberately designed to create a congenial atmosphere where ministers can become acquainted on a personal level. Personal connections are cultivated through education, in professional life, in military service, or through private associations. Such personal connections are important for all networks, regardless of whether they are formed inside government or in civil society. Because people tend to form network ties with individuals who are socially similar, networks are often subject to divisions based on gender, class, race, and ethnicity (Kronsell 1997:17585). The historic exclusion of women from private associations, so crucial for the public decision making, suggests that networks may exlude women from the contemporary policy process.

A network can be seen as a form of elite collective for the purpose of making or implementing policies. This implies that some groups will be excluded. Women experience difficulties in entering male dominated elite groups, which are united by homosociality, i.e., male enjoyment of or preference for the company of men (see Lipman-Blumen 1976). Men might not consciously exclude women, but their preference for associating with other men connects them in work, research, and leisure. Consciously or not, homosociality creates barriers to womens entry (Bird 1996; Flood 2007). Homosociality reminds us that gender politics works in a subtle way, which is particular relevant in thinking about networks as a form of governance that connects institutions and individuals, the actions and practices of which will inevitably be influenced by traditional gender regimes. In this area, there is much room for feminist critical research.

Masculinity and Security Governance

In this final section the focus is on governance of gender, across governance levels, with the focus on the military security field. Security governance is used to illustrate an important point, that governance of gender is about gender relations, and thus can be expected to take place also in areas where women are not present, or very few are. Masculinity is the dominant norm for policies and practices in this governance area. The literature on hegemonic masculinity argues that gender is a governing code in institutions that take certain groups of men as the standards of normality, although this is not spelled out explicitly (Connell 1995:212; Kronsell 2005; 2006). The normality of hegemonic masculinity is naturalized through the everyday practices of gendered identities (Petersen and True 1998:21). In certain institutions, most obviously in defense, military, and security institutions, a form of masculinity is so integral to the understanding of what a military institution is that its practices cannot be distinguished from masculinity as a norm, which is reproduced simply through daily routines (Connell 1995:212). Cynthia Enloes (2000) work shows the ubiquity of militarism as a gendered governance form that goes far beyond the military institutions to social norms and practices.

Military and defense governance is central to the field of international relations while, simultaneously, these institutions represent and reify specific gender relations. Military and security related institutions have historically been owned by men and operated as sites of hegemonic masculinity, which has largely determined their agendas, politics, and policies. Craig Murphy (1998:94) argues that equating military with men and excluding women from military activity and combat are at the very core of the IR thinking. Realism as the dominant theoretical orientation in IR embodies hegemonic masculinity because the ideal of the glorified male warrior has been projected onto the behavior of states (Hooper 1998:42; see also Tickner 1992:3166). The connection between masculinity and military security is hardly questioned, yet remains an unarticulated premise also of national defense governance (Kronsell and Svedberg 2001; 2006).

The importance of institutions of hegemonic masculinity in the arenas of defense and security is clearly revealed by an analysis of emerging defense and security governance in the EU. The EU has emerged as a civilian and a normative power in international affairs, argues Ian Manners (2002; 2006) and it could be expected to introduce new concepts in security and defense in line with this role. Recent efforts to formulate defense and security concepts took place in an institutional setting that had already adopted gender policies. The EU Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) presented an opportunity to adopt new ideas from research on these issues, from womens voices, and from critical feminist analysis. Instead, the norms associated with hegemonic masculinity were maintained and normalized.

We find evidence of this in the organizational setup, in the policy documents, and in the way that UN SCR 1325 has been dealt with by the EU. UN SCR 1325 calls for gender analysis of peacekeeping operations, building on previous work within the UN on the effects of war and conflict on women, as well as on gender balancing and gender mainstreaming. Womens movement and lobbying activities were crucial for the adoption of this resolution but womens resistance to existing governance norms on security issues was also a factor. Although 1325 focuses on peacekeeping operations under the UN flag, it has much broader application. Until states change the way they think about security and organize their military and defense institutions, we can expect few changes in governance patterns, however (cf. Cohn 2008).

Resolution 1325 has indeed given rise to various actions. Within the UN, relevant departments like the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Disarmament Affairs have issued research papers or briefing notes exploring the ways in which gender must be taken into account within their areas of operation (Whitworth 2004:119). Some UN member states, such as Sweden, have incorporated 1325 in their defense policies. In the 2004 Swedish defense bill, 1325 was prominent. Gender mainstreaming was explicitly discussed and articulated as a relevant aspect of Swedish defense governance (Prop 2004/05:5 Regeringens proposition, Vrt Framtida Frsvar, at Genusperspektiv p fredsbefrmjande insatser (2004) accessed Aug. 18, 2009, Frsvarsberedningen, Frsvarsdepartementet, at, accessed Aug. 18, 2009). In the EU, gender mainstreaming strategies in keeping with UN SCR 1325 began in 2006, but to date the effects on defense and security governance have been limited.

The EU Council commissioned Johanna Valenius to study gender mainstreaming in ESDP. Her report (Valenius 2007) summarizes the implementation of gender mainstreaming, particularly in the missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Comparing UN missions and ESDP operations, Valenius found that by November 2004, out of seventeen UN/peacekeeping operations, ten had a fulltime gender expert. In comparison, in all nine ESDP operations there has not been so far one single female EUSR/EU Special Representative/ (2007:29f.). In its efforts to change governance patterns to increase womens representation in influential positions within the organization, the UN did far better than the EU. Yet Whitworth (2004:123) finds that women are seriously underrepresented in UN peacekeeping missions. In the two ESDP operations studied by Valenius, women constituted just under 6 percent in EUFOR and 8 percent in the EU police mission. By contrast, female representation was much higher in the civilian part of the operation (Valenius 2007:annex, tables 1, 2). Valenius suggests that this is due to the fact that the EU forces are drawn from the armed forces of member states, where female representation is very low. In some cases, this is because the military profession has been closed to women; in addition, the conscription systems common in many European countries until the end of the Cold War excluded women (Committee on women in NATO forces, statistics, at Masculinity and mens bodies were institutionalized in the governance of security and defense in the member states, and this has created long-term obstacles that impede gender balancing efforts and in turn affect gender representation in multilateral institutions.

It is often argued that gender balancing is a straightforward approach that can gain support because it fits with liberal political ideas of democratic governance and equal representation. Gender mainstreaming, however, is viewed as a more radical approach because it calls for an analysis of all types of policies and organizational structures and requires the internalization of the understanding that gender is socially constructed (Whitworth 2004:124), a more complex idea.

Indeed, Valeniuss study (2007) shows that gender mainstreaming was not well understood by policy makers or practitioners under the ESDP. The experience of the EU Police Mission and the EUFOR Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina shows that the gap between rhetoric and practice was immense. Senior military officers may have given verbal support to gender mainstreaming, but practices on the ground revealed a lack of understanding of gender issues. The standard malefemale dichotomies were commonly expressed, and these reinforced negative views of what the addition of women could bring to the military as well as what problems this could create, and many voiced strong reservations about womens participation in the mission (Valenius 2007:338).

Even a member state like Sweden, which has taken gender mainstreaming and UN SCR 1325 quite seriously, has encountered obstacles in implementing gender balancing, much less gender mainstreaming, as the example of the Nordic Battle Group clearly shows. As a part of EU Security and Defense governance, EU member states have agreed to set up Battle Groups that are expected to take on a wide range of tasks, from humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping to high-intensity combat operations. The Battle Groups rotate with two groups always on standby for a six month period. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Ireland, together with the non-EU member Norway, established the Nordic Battle Group (NBG) under Swedish leadership. It was on standby during the first part of 2008, but never became operational. In a report by the Swedish Defense College in preparation for the NBG, Ivarsson and Edmark (2005) recommended several steps the NBG should take to fulfill the ambitions of UN SCR 1325, including an increased recruitment of women, particularly in leading positions, and including gender issues in military education and troop training as well as a code of conduct for troops when deployed. The first recommendation was not fulfilled: only 5 percent of the troops in the NBG were women (the goal was 20 percent), which reflected the armed forces of the participating states (Estonia 13.3 percent, Norway 7.4 percent, Sweden 4 percent and Finland 0.5 percent). The Battle Groups leading commanders were both men. Gender balancing is not a simple strategy to implement, at least not in military organizations.

The second recommendation to the NBG was that gender issues should become part of military education and training, a form of gender mainstreaming. In line with UN recommendations (Whitworth 2004:130), Gender Field Advisers were appointed to the NBG to advise and monitor gender mainstreaming efforts. A gender adviser was appointed to the operational headquarters and charged with educating NBG recruits and advising leading officers. Feminist advocates consider gender mainstreaming more difficult to achieve since it demands changes in attitudes and modes of operation. But the experience of the NBG does not fully support this view, as they were more successful in making gender perspectives part of military training than in achieving balanced gender representation.

Although the effort was innovative, with gender expertise working side by side with top-level military leadership, the experience points to a more general problem with gender governance: it is almost exclusively female political actors who challenge traditional gender roles. On the conceptual level, the debate addresses gender, but on the level of practice gender is interpreted to mean women. Despite all the good intentions, the experience of the NBG confirms what the literature says about gender mainstreaming in other institutions: the prevailing view is that men have no gender and that institutions are not gendered in a way that requires any change. This is particularly true for governance in the areas of defense and security.

Gender concerns are introduced by women, and are the responsibility of women, which reaffirms that women are different and that men resist developing gender awareness. Madeleine Jufors is a county police commissioner who worked in the role as NBGs Gender Adviser. Her description of her job is interesting because it shows how gender translates in the field of peacekeeping:

In short my job can be summed up as reflecting on the importance of having women in the unit both to be able to reach women in the area of operations and to keep a watch on the situation of local women and children, since in a war zone they often have to manage on their own and are at risk of rape and other abuse. (, authors translation)

Here we see the focus is on women (not gender or men) and typical of security governance as Whitworth (2004:132) argues. The tendency is to focus on women as victims of sexual violence and on the unique contributions that women can make. Gender in the UN context, in the EUSD as well as in the member states, is viewed as something women carry, in terms of some unique female qualities that can help make the performance of peacekeeping more effective. The work with gender issues in those institutional contexts centers narrowly on women and leaves little room for a deeper questioning of how the norms of masculinity and militarism are embedded in security and defense governance (cf. Whitworth 2004:139).

There are ample opportunities to analyze the gender of governance in other fields than the security institutions described here. For example, it would be interesting to study climate governance, a pressing and highly politicized issue on the contemporary global agenda. Climate governance concerns consumption and production patterns as well as lifestyle choices. Women leave a smaller ecological footprint. They make consumer choices and live in ways that are more sustainable than men. The causes of climate change are related to global economic activities particularly in the production and consumption chains (Johnsson-Latham 2007). Today, climate governance focuses mainly on improvements and technical fixes in the energy and transport area. These are male dominated sectors and it is mainly men who control and benefit from the research, innovations, and jobs in these sectors. This picture is similar to the one we see in security governance; thus, it is likely that the male-as-norm and forms of masculinity are important aspects also in the gender of climate governance and should be studied.


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