ANTI-GENDER BACKLASH & DEMOCRATIC PUSHBACK (Push*Back*Lash)
The Backlash (Anti-Gender Strategies & Discourses), its Effects and the Pushback (Counter-Strategies)
equality has never been so high on the European Union (EU)’s and the United
Nation (UN)’s agendas. While feminists across Europe and the world have
achieved significant – albeit slow – progress during the last decades, we are
currently witnessing a changed and changing reality in Europe and beyond: on
the one hand, since the 2010s, anti-feminist and anti-gender gender discourses
have proliferated. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionally
affected women’s and girls’ lives, showing how easily the hard-won progress for
women’s rights can be reversed. While aiming at keeping people safe at home,
lockdown measures amplified gender-based violence. At the same time, the
unprecedented digitalization of our daily life due to Covid-19 (expanded use of
online communication tools) increased the risk of gender based-online violence
and the diffusion of misogynist narratives.
Notwithstanding rollbacks in gender equality, the Covid-19 crisis
provides Europe and the world opportunities for change: gender equality is a
necessity for a sustainable post-pandemic recovery and for resilient, just, and
inclusive societies1; more fundamentally, however, gender equality is a
precondition for democracy and as such it is also central to the Union’s
existence and its future development. Against this background, our project
proposes a solid democratic pushback against the backlash. The overarching goal
of PUSH*BACK*LASH is two-fold:
advance the theory and practice of gender equality as a fundamental component
of democracy in the EU (European Union) and beyond; and
engendering democracy intersectionally, to counter-act anti-gender backlash
discourses and tactics and to strengthen democracy and spaces of democratic
participation in the Union as a whole.
following, we translate our two-fold goal into 5 specific objectives and
contextualize them in the Call:
1) Engendering democratic theory from
an intersectional perspective.
2) Understanding anti-gender discursive
strategies and backlash tactics & assessing their effects.
3) Identifying best strategies for
countering anti-gender discourses and strengthening democratic values and
practices, taking into account the role played by parties, social media and
4) Developing solutions, policy
recommendations and context-sensitive tools for engendering democratic spaces
from an intersectional perspective.
5) Co-creating and disseminating
knowledge for gender equality.
01.01.2023 – 31.12.2025