Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



The Velvet Triangle is a heuristic concept designed to describe interactions between policy makers and politicians, feminist academics and experts, and the women’s movement in European Union policy making. This article describes how the concept has travelled from its 2003 origins as a descriptor of informal relations in poli making to become a way of describing policy networks in settings beyond gender equality policy. The travels themselves provide an illustration of the personal networks that underwrite the exchange of ideas in feminism. European Union financing played a central role in facilitating the construction of cross-border contacts between policy actors, academics, and civil society. Further, the article asks to what extent figures such as triangles are a good way of representing relations in gender equality policy-making. Finally, there is a discussion of the transformations in policy making in the last ten years, and the relevance of the observations about informal relations in policy making for other equality movements such as those around sexual orientation. Given the challenges of austerity and women’s movement fatigue, in what ways has the gender equality velvet triangle been transformed in the last years?


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