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Policy evaluation and gender mainstreaming in the European Union: the perfect (mis)match?

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This article assesses the ability of the European Commission’s current approach to policy evaluation to evaluate gender mainstreaming and, in turn, other cross-cutting social agendas (Articles 8–10 TFEU). Taking European Union research policy as a case study, through our analysis, we reveal mismatches between current evaluation standards adopted within the Better Regulation framework and requirements for effectively assessing progress towards cross-cutting social objectives, such as gender equality. The article concludes with a series of recommendations to overcome the identified shortcomings. Our analysis constitutes a key contribution to the development of feminist scholarship on the post-implementation phase of the policy process.

key messages
  1. The European Commission’s Better Regulation framework provides standards for evaluation.

  2. The Better Regulation framework does not accommodate requirements for evaluating social agendas.

  3. To meet gender mainstreaming commitments, the Commission’s approach to evaluation ought to change.

  4. The article offers suggestions for strengthening evaluation from a gender equality perspective.
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Keywords: Better Regulation; European Commission; evaluation; gender mainstreaming; research policy; social objectives

Affiliations: 1: Cardiff University, UK 2: Yellow Window, Belgium 3: Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

Appeared or available online: December 23, 2019

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