Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Host an ECPR event

Advocating in Times of Backlash: Gender and Sexual Politics in Action

Civil Society
Political Activism
Section Number
Section Chairs
Petra Ahrens
Tampere University
Silvia Erzeel
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Section Co-Chair
Isabelle Engeli
University of Exeter

A number of factors related to the crisis of liberal democracy and the welfare state, the new populist and right-wing wave and the re-emergence of religious opposition have led to a re-politicization of gender and sexual politics in Europe. Even in areas where the advancement of gender and sexual equality was often expected on a relatively straight path forward such as intimate citizenship, equal employment, or political representation, opposition has been raising to slow down or even reverse recent progress. The rise of conservative counter-movements, anti-gender mobilization, state anti-feminism and threats to fundamental rights are among the numerous forms of opposition and resistance to gender and sexual equality that challenge gender and sexual+ advocacy.

This section explores what this evolving context means for equality+ advocacy and the pursuit of gender and sexual+ equality in politics, policy and society. How and to what extent do changes in the political context influence gender relations and gendered norms and practices in politics and society? Why and how are the (re-)emerged anti-equality forces successful in mobilizing and attracting electoral support and whom do they represent (also considering female leaders of the Radical Right)? What are the challenges faced by actors who are (in)directly targeted by oppositional forces, including women and LGBT movements, equal rights activists, progressive policy actors and gender scholars? How to advocate in times of backlash? Who are the potential allies and what role do international organizations like the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) play? What are the real-life manifestations and effects of backlash against gender and sexual equality: how does it shape the ordinary lives of women and men as intersectional beings? Moreover, what are the implications for the profession: what are new challenges posed to the study of gender and the position of gender scholars in Europe, how to deal with them?

The Section invites scholars to submit contributions that tackle one or more of the issues described above, either from a theoretical, methodological, empirical or normative perspective. We welcome papers using a variety of methods and data, including quantitative large N methods, comparative studies, experimental research, digital methods, qualitative in-depth studies, and grounded theory. The Panels will be on topics related to the broad Section perspective and together with the Panel Chairs and Panel Discussants will ensure a geographically balanced representation of scholars from across Europe and at different career stages.

The Section warmly welcomes contributions from scholars based in the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P023Battleground 'Gender': Mobilisations against Feminism in Far-Right Politics View Panel Details
P145Gender and Citizen Politics View Panel Details
P146Gender and Intersectionality in Policymaking View Panel Details
P148Gender, Populism and Illiberal Democracy View Panel Details
P226Opposition to Gender and Sexual Equality View Panel Details
P330Resistance to Women in Politics View Panel Details
Share this page