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Enlargement, Gender and Governance:
The Civic and Political Participation and Representation of Women
in EU Candidate Countries

Start date: 1 December 2002
End Date: 31 November 2005

Funding body: European Union Framework Five

Partners: Queen's University Belfast (UK, co-ordinator); Bignaschi Foundation of Milan (Italy); University of Sofia - Gender Studies Centre (Bulgaria); Academy of the Sciences - Institute of Sociology (Czech Republic); University of Tartu - Sociology Department (Estonia); University of Latvia - Centre for Feminism Studies (Latvia); Law University of Lithuania - Political Sciences Department (Lithuania); University of Warsaw - Institute of Applied Social Sciences (Poland); University of Bucharest - Political Science Department (Romania); Matej Bel University - Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (Slovakia); University of Ljublana - Philosophy Department (Slovenia)

Background: The main objective of this research project is to analyse the extent to which representative institutions and other organizations (such as political parties, trade unions, NGOs and social movements) enable women's participation and representation in political decision-making and governance in EU candidate countries. A multi-disciplinary team of predominantly women researchers from across Europe will analyse the situations in each of the ten Central and Eastern European applicant states: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. By looking at how the history of communist rule has affected women's current political position, the project will provide recommendations to underpin effective future policy-making.

Aims: This research project focuses on three main questions:

• To what extent, and in what ways, have the twin forces of democratisation and preparation for EU accession influenced women's civic and political participation in candidate countries?
• To what extent, and in what ways, are women's civil associations embedded in the equality policy framework in candidate countries?
• Are there specific strategies that could be adopted to enhance women's contribution to governance?

Specific objectives include the following actions:
• To trace, map and analyse the contribution of women's political and civic organisations to governance in CEECs as they evolve through democratisation and EU integration.
• To analyse the extent to which institutions encourage or inhibit women's representation and participation in discussing and determining policies and actions in which women have direct and indirect interests.
• To identify areas where women's participation is weaker and assess why.
• To identify new forms of gender discrimination and segregation in post-communist countries and assess the measures required to address these problems.
• To evaluate women's influence on the adoption and implementation of current Commission and national government policies, such as gender mainstreaming and the implementation of the EU equality acquis.
• To evaluate whether effective monitoring bodies have been established to ensure the enforcement of this legislation.

For more information, see the EGG website at www.qub.ac.uk/egg.

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