This paper assesses the tension that exists between the EU internal and international legal obligations to achieve gender equality in all its activities, and the lack of actual implementation of this value in the context of cooperation and development projects in the Asian region. While the EU promotes itself as a world leader in democratic values, it has found itself in a conundrum with regard to cooperation and development projects in Asia. The value of gender equality appears to clash with the EU's willingness to foster good economic relations with key rising markets. As a result, cooperation and development projects have focussed on the promotion of economic growth, which ultimately benefits EU-Asian trade, at the expense of projects that promote gender equality. This paper provides a critical assessment of the legal background to the EU internal and international obligations in the field of gender equality. In conclusion, it argues that the hindrances to implementing gender equality can be traced to the EU's inability to assert its self-proclaimed "constitutional" value of gender equality both within its internal and external actions.
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