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Religion and Political Theory: Secularism, Accommodation and The New Challenges of Religious Diversity, Edited by Jonathan Seglow and Andrew Shorten

(Anti-)Feminism and Populism: The Case of Law and Justice in Poland

Europe (Central and Eastern)
 
Comparative Politics
 
Gender
 
Party Manifestos
 
Representation
 
Feminism
 
Party Members
 
Presenter
Anna Gwiazda
Kings College London
Authors
Anna Gwiazda
Kings College London

Abstract
This paper explores the relationship between right-wing populism and feminism by examining the case of Poland. The 2015 parliamentary election saw a victory of the right-wing populist Law and Justice party (PiS) which formed a single-party majority government. PiS is critical of feminist policies and is hostile to what it calls ‘gender-ideology.’ Its anti-feminism resonates with the section of the conservative and traditional electorate closely linked to the Catholic Church. However, a few female deputies from PiS confirmed in the interviews that they accepted aspects of liberal feminism such as gender equality in the workplace and the need to redress a gender pay gap. Consequently, this case study raises important questions. First, it explores feminist politics further by engaging with concepts such as anti-feminism, conservative feminism and state anti-feminism. Second, it analyses right-wing populism and its relation to feminism. Finally, this paper reflects on political representation and the quality of democracy in the context of the illiberal and conservative turn in East European politics.
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