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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

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

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Comparative Politics
Party Manifestos
Party Members
Anna Gwiazda
Kings College London
Anna Gwiazda
Kings College London

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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