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Beyond methodological nationalism in explanations of gender equality: The impact of EU policies on gender provisions in national collective agreements in Belgium (1957–2020)

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Based on an analysis of gender equality provisions in national collective agreements, this article investigates the influence of European Union (EU) gender and macro-economic policy on gender equality outcomes in Belgium since the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. We show that, over time, EU gender equality policies have led to the adoption of provisions promoting formal gender equality and the integration of women in the labour market. At the same time, EU macro-economic policies have stimulated labour flexibility, promoting part-time work largely filled by women, and imposed wage moderation, which has fundamentally hampered the correction of historical indirect gender discrimination in wages. Overall, EU policies have stimulated the transformation of the conservative male breadwinner model of this coordinated market economy (CME) into a gendered 'one-and-a-half earner' model, a transformation partially enforced through the increased interference of the state transposing EU policies. Our study advances the current literature by pointing to the limitations of prevalent methodologically nationalist explanations of gender equality outcomes in CMEs. More specifically, it shows that the gender equality provisions of national collective bargaining agreements in CMEs cannot be understood independent of EU gender and macro-economic policies.
Tijdschrift: European journal of industrial relations
ISSN: 0959-6801
Issue: 1
Volume: 28
Pagina's: 47 - 64
Jaar van publicatie:2022
Trefwoorden:Belgium, European gender policy, European macro-economic policy, gender equality outcomes, methodological nationalism, national collective bargaining
BOF-publication weight:1
Authors from:Higher Education