RECON Online Working Paper 2008/16

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Assessing Gender Democracy in the European Union

A Methodological Framework

 

Yvonne Galligan and Sara Clavero (Queen's University Belfast)

 

Abstract

This paper presents a methodological framework for assessing the quality of democracy in the European Union from a gender perspective. The methodology was developed in the context of a broader project that aims to derive a set of empirical indicators of democratic performance for the European Union, being undertaken within the EU funded project Reconstituting Democracy in Europe (RECON).

 

After describing the general background to the development of this methodology, the paper discusses a set of questions that needed to be addressed in the course of this research. These include: What do we exactly mean by 'gender democracy'? What are the purposes of this assessment? How can we move from abstract concepts such as 'gender democracy' to observable indicators? Once a set of indicators has been derived, how should we use these in an assessment context?

 

In addressing these questions, the paper presents a variety of methodologies that have been adopted in established assessments of democratic performance, critically discussing their strengths and weaknesses as well as their applicability for an assessment of gender and democracy. This survey exercise exposes the complexities involved in the design and implementation of a methodology for a gender-sensitive assessment of democracy and the difficult choices encountered by the researchers at every step of the way.


Keywords

Democracy – Democratic Deliberation – European Union– Gender Policy


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