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Rachel A Cichowski
POL S 415
Seattle Campus

Women's Rights in an Integrated Europe

Examines the transformation in women's rights policy within the European community from the late 1950s through the present. Focuses on the legal rules and bodies that govern not only these policy domains, but also their evolution and impacts. Offered: jointly with LSJ 428.

Class description

Description. In the late 1950s, moved by a hope for peace and economic prosperity in Europe, six governments constructed the foundations of an unprecedented form of supranational governance: the European Community. Heads of governments came together around the negotiating table to begin developing the law and institutions that would govern what was largely an international economic treaty. Women were but a distant presence at this table and womenís rights were not on the agenda. Today, in the year 2002, this same supranational space, the European Union (EU), possesses an ever-expanding womenís rights policy: from equal treatment in employment to maternity leave. The purpose of this course is to critically examine how this remarkable transformation took place. In the first part, we will explore the evolution of EU sex equality policy with particular critical attention to the economic origins of EU womenís rights. Next we turn to the law and politics of EU womenís rights. In this part, we will move beyond a discussion of the formal legal rules governing this policy domain and examine the main factors influencing this evolution. What was the role of national governments, EU institutions and women activists in this evolution? How has this impacted the balance of power in EU policy processes and changed the level of legal protection available to women at the national level? In particular, we will focus on the development of equality rights through the case law of the European Court of Justice. Finally, in the last part of the course, we will reflect on the limitations of EU womenís rights and assess the possible success of future directions and expansion of these rights.

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General method of instruction

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Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 02/27/2003