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The Biopolitics of Gender$
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Jemima Repo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190256913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190256913.001.0001

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Gender Equality as Neoliberal Governmentality

Gender Equality as Neoliberal Governmentality

(p.133) Chapter 5 Gender Equality as Neoliberal Governmentality
The Biopolitics of Gender

Jemima Repo

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the neoliberal biopolitics of gender equality policy in the European Union (EU), with specific attention to the deployment of gender equality as a solution to demographic challenges. It argues that gender equality policy was developed in the EU as a demographic and economic good that would optimize the fertility rates of ethnic Europeans and increase women’s participation in the labor market. The chapter highlights the demographic and sociological research that informed EU gender equality policymaking, and critiques how they combined with the truth claims of human capital theory. It is argued that gender equality policy is essentially organized by figuring gender as an “invisible hand” that governs the sexual division of labor, population, and economy. The analysis therefore casts gender equality as a mechanism of biopolitical and neoliberal governmentality in current EU public policy.

Keywords:   European Union, fertility, gender equality, human capital theory

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