Talking Gender in Europe 2023-2024

The 2023-2024 Talking Gender in Europe series kicks off on October 18, 2023!

The European Union has set impressive standards on gender equality, providing legal frameworks for equal pay, investing in work/life balance and childcare, and allowing for positive action to advance equal treatment of women across member states. At the same time, Europe witnesses considerable backlash from anti-gender activists and rightwing reactionary movements, calling into question gender equality as a core norm of European democracies.

In response to this evolving situation, the Center for West European Studies at the University of Washington presents a lecture series covering gender politics in Europe and the European Union. Contributors will investigate actors, institutions, and policies in the area of gender in Europe, offering perspectives on current challenges and possible versions of the future.

This page is under construction, please stay tuned for updates. 

Free & open to the public.


Ayse Dursun | Organized Muslim Women in Turkey: An Intersectional Approach to Building Women’s Coalitions

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 12:00 PM (Pacific Time) | Online via ZoomDr. Ayse Dursun

This talk explores the politics of organized Muslim women in Turkey and analyzes their coalitions with other – secular feminist, Kurdish etc. – women’s movements from an intersectional perspective. It provides empirical evidence for significant changes in Muslim women’s politics under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and points to the increasing difficulty to build cross-movement women’s coalitions in the face of rising religious conservatism and authoritarianism.

Ayse Dursun studied Political Science and English Studies at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main und graduated in 2010. Following her graduation, she started a PhD on the topic “Muslim Women’s Movements in Turkey: An Intersectional Approach to Coalition Building” at the Department of Political Science of the University of Vienna. During her PhD, she worked as a research assistant at the same Department for the following projects: “Fördert Föderalismus Frauen? Föderalisierte Gleichstellungspolitik in Österreich und Deutschland” (Does Federalism Promote Gender Equality? Federalized Gender Equality Policies in Austria and Germany) (duration: 2012-2014) as well as “In Whose Best Interests? Exploring Unaccompanied Minors‘ Rights through the Lens of Migration and Asylum Processes” (MinAs) (duration: July 2014-December 2015). In May 2018, she received her PhD. From January until September 2019 she was working as a researcher for the research project Migrant Communities and Children in a Transforming Europe (MiCREATE) at the Department for Political Science. Since October 2019 she is Post Doc Assistant with research focus on Gender and Politics at the Department of Political Science. She is Steering Committee member of the Standing Group “Gender and Politics” of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

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Leda Sutlović | Gendering Democratization in Croatia

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 12:00 PM (Pacific Time) | Online via ZoomLeda Sutlović

How does the ongoing struggle of women’s and feminist movements contribute to democratization processes over time? Analyzing the ten most significant protests in Croatia since independence, this presentation shows how women’s movement actions create long-term legacies that continue to kindle further mobilizations. Utilizing a historical interpretation of struggles for democracy and feminist activism, I argue that the growing requests for participatory democracy initiated a horizontal ‘sidestreaming’ of feminism(s) to other social movements, communities and spaces in which they had not previously been present. Broad coalitions and networks within and outside of civil society, interconnecting communal grassroots protests, progressive social movements, and civil society ‘professionals’, linked the call for gender justice with demands for more participation.

Leda Sutlović holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Vienna, and has studied at the University of Zagreb and the Central European University in Budapest. Her doctoral research dealt with the issue of (post)-socialist transformations of Eastern European gender regimes (title: “Interpreting Post-Socialist Gendered Transformations through Feminist Institutionalism, Ideas and Knowledge – the case of Croatia (1970-2010)”). She has written on feminist movements and gender politics, state-society relations, participation and socio-cultural centers, and the role of knowledge and ideas in politics. Before Rijeka she worked on the project “Gendering democratization: path dependencies or rupture in the face of anti-gender campaigns”, hosted at the CEU Democracy Institute, where she researched protest activity and social movements in Croatia, with the focus on the interrelation of popular requests for democracy and gender equality.

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Phillip M. Ayoub | The Double-Helix Entanglements of Transnational Advocacy: Moral Conservative Resistance to SOGI Rights in Europe

Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 12:00 PM (Pacific Time) | Online via Zoom

In the last thirty years, the rights of people who are marginalized by their sexual orientation and Philip M. Ayoubgender identity (SOGI) have improved rapidly in many countries. For the most part, these achievements can be traced back to the “spiral model” of factors involving the transnational mobilization of the SOGI-rights movement, the actions of progressive governments in a few pioneering countries, and advances in the human rights frameworks of some IOs. Yet, such successes have not gone unchallenged. A rising and, in recent years, increasingly globally connected resistance works against SOGI rights. It rests predominantly in the hands of transnationally connected social movements—frequently with a religious-nationalist orientation—and conservative governments, actors that now also attempt to lay claim to international human rights law by rewriting or reinterpreting it. Drawing from over a decade of fieldwork and over 240 interviews with SOGI, anti-SOGI, and various state and IO actors, this article explores how the conservative transnational movement functions, in terms of who comprises it and how its agenda is constructed. We argue that these
resistances have employed in the last decade many of the same transnational tools that garnered LGBTIQ people their widespread recognition. They also conform to the boomerang and spiral models of human rights diffusion, but in a process we reconceive as a double helix. As the double-helix metaphor suggests, rival TANs have a reciprocal relationship, having to navigate each other’s presence in an interactive space. In other words, both those who seek the advancement of SOGI rights and those who oppose them use related strategies and instruments for mutually exclusive ends.

Phillip M. Ayoub is a professor in the Department of Political Science at University College London and Editor of the European Journal of Politics and Gender. He is the author of three books, including When States Come Out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and his articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, the European Journal of International Relations, the European Journal of Political Research, Mobilization, the European Political Science Review, among others.

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The Talking Gender in the EU lecture series is organized by the Center for West European Studies and the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence with support from the Lee and Stuart Scheingold European Studies Fund, the EU Erasmus+ Program, the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, and the Center for Global Studies.