The Gendered Impact of Triggering Article 50

Saturday 11 March
3.30 – 5pm
West Downs Campus, University of Winchester, Romsey Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 5FT

​This talk will be given by Professor Roberta Guerrina, University of Surrey.

Reflecting on the gendered nature of politics seems more relevant now than ever. The results of the Referendum on UK membership of the EU in June 2016 poses a significant challenge to the future of the national gender equality framework. The Leave campaign’s slogan “Take Back Control” was hinged on the assumption that European legislation and regulation stifles economic growth through excessive red-tape. Current government discussions about withdrawal from the EU are largely focused on trade, security and immigration. Gender equality, and social policy more generally, have been left behind.

This paper explores some of the medium term implications of the EU Referendum (2016) on the position and future of women’s rights in the UK. Using process tracing, the article explores the complex relationship between EU and UK legislation in the area of maternity rights. Specifically, it argues that considering the UK government’s opposition to the original Pregnant Worker Directive (1992) and later to the abandoned Amendment Directive, we can expect these regulations to become watered down. The economic and political environment that shaped the EU Referendum campaigns and is likely to shape UK negotiations to leave the EU are likely to favour deregulation. This approach will have a detrimental impact on equality provisions aimed at women’s activation in the labour market. The paper concludes by arguing that Brexit’s impact on gender equality will be twofold. Firstly, the invisibility of gender issues in the campaign and the deeply gendered nature of the Leave campaign will side-line equality and social justice in favour of higher political and economic priorities. Secondly, withdrawal from the EU will decrease access to the policy process of traditionally marginal groups who have found European institutions a more welcoming environment for gender advocacy.​

In this timely public lecture Professor Guerrina will consider the gendered implications of triggering Article 50.

This event is part of the Centre for Gender Studies. For more information about the Centre, click here

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