Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Cullen P.
Politics & Gender
Irish Female Members of the European Parliament: Critical Actors for Women's Interests?
2 ()
Optional Fields
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2018 The European Parliament (EP) is credited as an important actor in improving the rights of women in Ireland. Lacking a power base in national political parties, Irish feminists and European Union (EU) officials, including members of the EP (MEPs), have worked to secure progress on gender equality. This research explores whether, in the contemporary context, Irish female MEPs remain critical actors for women's interests at the EU level. Findings show that although Irish female MEPs have a limited record of involvement with the EP's main site for gender equality, the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, they do act in a variety of ways on women's interests. These include mobilization on gendered occupational roles and traditionally gendered areas such as care work, child poverty, and issues constructed as affecting women outside the EU. Irish female MEPs also facilitate forms of supranational lobbying in their support of EU-level advocacy for domestic gendered civil society and campaign groups. However, ideology and party political discipline, the pull toward local and national interests, and an absence of strong feminist agency work to diminish opportunities for female MEPs to act as critical actors and deliver critical acts on women's interests.
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