Women, human rights and the European integration process: 1958-2000

Cernovs, Jasmine. (2001). Women, human rights and the European integration process: 1958-2000 PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Cernovs, Jasmine.
Thesis Title Women, human rights and the European integration process: 1958-2000
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2001
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Ferber, S.
Saunders, K. E.
Total pages 383
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects L
430108 History - European
780199 Other
Formatted abstract
The European Community, particularly since the mid-1970s, has taken to presenting itself as an entity which has been a defender of the human rights of European women. These assertions have taken the form of claims about the Community's broad ideological goals, claims about human rights in general and claims about women's human rights specifically. Since 1958 the Community has constructed a framework for the protection of women s rights which consists of a number of supranational treaty provisions. Council legislation, "soft law , European Court of Justice jurisprudence, and European Commission programmes. The 1958 Treaty of Rome gave female workers the right to equal pay under Article 119, while later treaty revisions included references to the right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex. The adoption of three Council Directives between 1975 and 1979 extended the scope of Article 119 and were complemented by further Directives in the 1980s and 1990s. The European Court of Justice broke new ground in 1978 by recognising the right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex as a fundamental principle of Community law. The European Parliament has also developed a considerable body of non-binding legislation pertaining to women's rights since the 1970s, while the European Commission has provided partial supranational funding for a raft of initiatives. The adoption of the principle of gender mainstreaming in 1996 and the signing of the Charter of Fundamental Rights for the European Union in 2000 have also been symbolic milestones for the defence of women's human rights at the supranational level. However, critical analysis of the Community's achievements in the women's human rights field suggest that the Community s claims are substantially untrue. Supranational initiatives have not been been directed at a wide enough group of women nor have they been of sufficient strength to qualify as women s human rights protections. Likewise, the Community s initiatives have only protected women from certain kinds of abuses that occur in the workplace, and few effective initiatives have been devoted to combating equally serious harms suffered by women in their "private' lives. The distribution of decision-making powers within the Community has also directed responsibility for the development of women's human rights guarantees away from those institutions which have contained the most women. Finally, few European women have actually been aware of, let alone have had a detailed comprehension of, the supranational laws intended to protect them from abuse. Hampered, among other things, by an ongoing lack of democratic legitimacy, by a residual tendency to look upon economic integration as both a means and an end, and by the recent application of the subsidiarity principle to the distribution of legislative competences, the Community has been unable to produce a framework of women's human rights guarantees which would allow it to truthfully claim that it has defended women's human rights.
Keyword Human rights -- European Union Countries
Women's rights -- European Union Countries

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:03:09 EST