Brown bag lecture - The Pursuit of Equality: Tracing the Journey of Gender Equality in the European Union

Gender equality has been one of the fundamental values of the European Union since its inception in 1957. Over the years, gender equality policies in the EU have evolved from a single treaty article to a comprehensive legal and political framework. However, progress in this area has been characterized by fluctuation between advancement and stagnation, and has faced resistance. Despite legislative blockades, budgetary cutbacks, and administrative reforms that undermined the policy field, the gender equality agenda has made a comeback with strong support from the first-ever female Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. The current European Commission has made significant efforts to advance the gender equality agenda and implement the Gender Equality Strategy, despite challenges such as opposition from conservative Member States, structural constraints, and successive crises. In the past few years, the Commission has unblocked crucial legislation for gender equality and stepped up its fight against gender-based violence with the support of advocates both inside and outside the institutions. This lecture will provide an overview of the evolution and current trends in gender equality policies in the European Union, and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in achieving true gender equality.

short bio

Dr. Petra Debusscher is researcher and lecturer at the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies (GIES) at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. She has published widely in the area of EU gender and diversity policies and gender mainstreaming. In addition to her academic work, Petra has extensive experience working as a gender expert for EU institutions, including the European Commission, the European Parliament’s FEMM Committee, the European Institute for Gender Equality and the European Institute of Innovation & Technology among others.


Friday, March 31



Vergaderzaal -1.1 Raadzaal, Campus Ufo, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33, 9000 Gent

For whom

Accessible for everyone inside and outside UGent.


Registration is mandatory via the following link



Petra Debusscher (