Globalization & Law Network seminar with Ivana Isailović

How did gender equality initiatives in the EU become framed in terms of their economic benefits? On January 17, 2024, the Globalization & Law Network had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Ivana Isailović, Assistant Professor of EU law at the University of Amsterdam. During the seminar, Ivana presented her work focused on the complex transformation of the regulation of social reproduction in the EU. Dr. Mark Kawakami, Assistant Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, led the discussion.

In her talk, Ivana discussed her past research (including her widely cited paper ‘Gender Equality as Investment: EU Work-Life Balance Measures and the Neo-Liberal Shift’ published in the Yale Journal of International Law) as well as introduced her new research lines focusing on gender-based violence and the right to abortion. Drawing on the literature on political economy as well as feminist scholarship, Ivana argued that while the EU is often praised for promoting gender equality, there is a detachment between the envisaged goals behind its policies and their actual impact. Originally aimed to address gender disparities in caregiving responsibilities, the regulation of social reproduction has become a form of investment in human capital, thereby legitimizing and promoting neoliberal rationality. While there appears to be a consensus that the EU is a forerunner in the field of protection of social rights, Ivana challenged this narrative by unravelling different forms of erasure and differentiation based on gender, race, class, and citizenship encoded in EU lawMore specifically, gender equality policies adopted by the EU benefit highly qualified women while marginalizing informal and part-time workers of immigrant backgrounds.

Ivana’s presentation sparked an interesting discussion among the participants of the seminar, addressing the issues of the interplay between neoliberalism and social engineering, the promises and pitfalls of the ‘welfare state’, and the conflict between law and cultural norms in different Member States.

If you are interested in joining the upcoming seminars organized by the Globalization & Law Network, you can view the program and register here.

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