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Gender Equality in the Case Law of the European Court of Justice

Abstract:
The principle of gender equality forms a part of the EU’s social policy and serves equally men and women. So far, fourteen directives concerning gender equality have been adopted in the EU, with the New Equal Treatment Directive as the latest one. The EU has developed different models to promote gender equality: equal treatment, positive action and most recently gender mainstreaming. The equal treatment model is primarily concerned with formal equality and it unfortunately prevails in the ECJ’s rulings. Indeed, this paper argues that so far, the ECJ has not managed to develop a firm and consistent case law on gender equality, nor to stretch it coherently to positive action and gender mainstreaming. It seems that in spite of some progress in promoting the position of women, the ECJ’s case law has recently taken a step backwards with its conservative judgments in e.g. the Cadman case.

Overall, this paper aims at summing up and evaluating the most important cases of the ECJ on gender equality.

Working Paper Series

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