Attack on democracy? Anti-Gender-Movements in Europe

Attack on democracy? Anti-Gender-Movements in Europe

Gender and equality policies of the European Union have been a success story for several decades. The gender mainstreaming strategy and many anti-discrimination directives set the framework for human rights-based and participatory policies. In recent years, however, right-wing populist movements have developed throughout Europe and mobilize against gender politics and sexual self-determination. The obtained rights and practices of open democratic societies, for example in the area of sexual and reproductive self-determination, are challenged and antifeminists want to reduce them. Right-wing populist parties in the European Parliament are more present and are increasingly influencing the debates. Well-connected transnational parliamentary groups abuse the parliament as a stage to erode the base of EU gender politics and thus a piece of feminist success story.

The articles in this dossier describe which ideological sources current anti-feminism is based on, which actors mobilize in mostly international networks, which strategies they use and how this affects European countries and the EU politics in total.

Anti-feminism is making right-wing stances socially acceptable

Anti-feminism as well as anti-gender rhetoric are playing a central role in the “centering” of right-wing ideologies. They are making right-wing mindsets acceptable in mainstream society and enabling parts of society to shift to the right without appearing right-wing. 

By Franziska Schutzbach

A curious feminist gaze into the right-wing shift

The progessive camp must not ignore the nuanced complexities within the seemingly ostensibly unified masculinizing project of the Right - there is a need for femisnist curiosity and a fresh gaze.

By Weronika Grzebalska

Further Readings


Anti-Gender Movements on the Rise?

The concept of "gender backlash" encompasses too activities pursued by a multitude of different local initiatives all over Central and Eastern Europe, which strongly promote tradition over equality. In many cases these groups appear to be backed and inspired both by influential US-American “pro life” organisations as well as the Kremlin’s "Gay-rope" propaganda, which aims to discredit the European Union as a place of moral decline.