The evolution of sexual harassment policies, beginning in the United States and spreading to the EU and its member states, demonstrates the important role of transnational movements and advocacy networks in promoting social change on a global scale. In this transnational effort, feminists have been able to draw on resources beyond their national borders. Alternative feminist discourses – including a range of viewpoints and sophisticated forms of transnational expertise based on social scientific and legal research – readily travel across national borders. The German case, however, demonstrates that the nation-state remains a key actor because institutional arrangements of legal systems, workplace regulation, and gender ideologies shape both feminist strategies and the (gender) politics of sexual harassment in general.
This book has compared the rise and development of the politics of sexual harassment in the United States, the EU, and Germany, focusing on cultural, social, political, and institutional contexts. The preceding chapters reveal how different trajectories and dynamics of change – from the origins of laws to their implementation in the workplace – have brought about very different politics.
Demonstrating how important a gender approach is for the comparative study of sexual harassment policy, this chapter discusses policy outcomes from a gendered perspective. Comparison of how feminist frames were translated into laws allows us to examine the links among frames, institutional arrangements, and political opportunities. Hence, this chapter addresses what this analysis tells us about how social movements affect policy change in general and feminist policy in particular.