Trends of de-democratization across Europe and the Americas have emerged along with opposition to gender equality and threats to previous gender equality policy achievements. Yet, de-democratization is rarely analyzed through the lens of gender equality and, so far, efforts to systematically examine the implications for inclusive democracy and the representation of gender interests are fragmented. Backsliding on gender policies and on state commitments to gender equality, and new forms of feminist engagement with hostile governments and audiences, also raise new challenges to the literature on gender and politics.
In this paper, our Senior Research Fellow Andrea Krizsan and Conny Roggeband (University of Amsterdam) propose a conceptual framework to discuss these two interrelated realms: backsliding on gender equality policies and the emerging political space for feminist responses to this backsliding. They illustrate their framework with empirical observations from three Central and Eastern European countries: Croatia, Hungary, and Poland. They aim to contribute to an understanding of the gendered aspects of de-democratization and the functioning of illiberal democracies.
This paper is part of the “UN Women discussion paper series”. Originally published in English in 2020, it is now also available in Spanish.