Promoting gender equality in the neighbourhood: the impact of domestic constraints on European Union induced domestic change in Armenia and Georgia
The Master’s thesis examines the European Union’s promotion of gender equality through its neighbourhood policy. More specifically, it focuses on the Eastern dimension of the neighbourhood, the Eastern Partnership, and explores neighbourhood Europeanisation in the context of gender equality reforms. Previous research on Europeanisation has signalled that concerning gender equality, domestic factors are the most influential in regard to European Union influenced domestic change. Therefore, the thesis aims to investigate this observation by determining the impact of domestic constraints on the ability of European Union conditionality to induce domestic change in the context of gender equality reforms. To investigate this, the thesis compares the cases of Armenia and Georgia while triangulating data primarily from official documents, backed by interview data and data from secondary sources. Comparing levels of European Union conditionality, domestic constraints, and domestic change in the context of European Union promoted gender equality reforms in both Armenia and Georgia, the study finds that domestic veto-players such as the church and conservative groups, misperceptions on gender, and gender stereotypes are the domestic constraints that affect domestic change in the context of European Union promoted gender equality reforms. Studying these domestic constraints, the thesis makes the observation that domestic constraints hinder domestic change in the context of European Union promoted gender equality reforms; however, the constraints are only able to lower the level of domestic change but not completely stop it. As a result, the research finds that European Union conditionality would be more effective in inducing domestic change in the context of European Union promoted gender equality reforms if there were fewer or no domestic constraints as the domestic constraints decrease the level of domestic change by delaying the adoption of gender equality reforms.