Talking Gender in Europe 2023-2024

Talking Gender in the EU 2022-2023

The 2022-2023 Talking Gender in the EU series kicks off on November 30, 2022!

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.


Free & open to the public.

Gender Equality in Slovenia

Prof. Milica Antić Gaber, Professor of Sociology & Culture

University of Ljubljiana, Slovenia

November 30, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST

Online via Zoom


Milica Antić Gaber is Senior Researcher and Full Professor at the Department of Sociology at Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, where she teaches Sociology of Gender at graduate and post-graduate level and coordinates Doctoral program on Gender Studies. She was a visiting scholar and lecturer at Central European University in Budapest, Centre for Women’s Studies in Belgrade, Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, Birkbeck College in London, Centre for Women’s Studies in Novi Sad and University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

She participated in or coordinated national and international projects on gender equality, including European Commission’s (Daphne II) project Ways of Implementing European Directives on Violence against Women, Children and Youth: Good practices and recommendations; Balancing private and professional life as an obstacle to the greater presence of women in politics; Gender Structure of Slovene Society and the Position of Genders in Politics, international project The Electoral Gender Quota Systems and their Implementations in Europe and she is currently a national coordinator of Slovene research group of the Gearing Roles project financed by European Commission working on issues of the GEP implementation in the academic field.

She was a member of the Expert Council for Gender Equality at the Slovene Ministry of Labor, and was a member of the Expert Forum of European Institute for Gender Equality. She was a Head of Slovene Sociological Association and a member of Executive Board of European Sociological Association.

Slipping Off Or Turning The Tide? Gender Equality in the European Union’s External Relations in Times of Crisis

Dr. Natalie Welfens, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hertie School

Berlin, Centre for Fundamental Rights

February 16, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PDT

Online via Zoom


The European Union has faced and continues to face several crises, including the financial crisis, Brexit, a migration and climate crisis, and lately the COVID-19 pandemic as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and its consequences. At the same time, the EU has promised to mainstream gender in all external policies, and understands itself to be a normative power and gender actor in world politics. Does the EU live up to this normative commitment in times of multiple external crises? Can crises even offer a window of opportunity for gender considerations, as some feminist work suggests? In this talk Natalie Welfens analyzes how the European Union’s identification of crisis and policy responses to crisis in different external policy fields are gendered and have gendered effects.

Europeanization, Democratization, and Backsliding: Trajectories and Framings of Gender Equality Institutions in Poland

Dr. Barbara Gaweda, Postdoctoral Researcher for the ERC project

EUGenDEM at the Center for European Studies, University of Helsinki

April 13, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST

Online via Zoom


Since 2015, Polish governments have mainstreamed anti-gender equality rhetoric as a strategy to legitimize systemic changes and democratic backsliding. How has democratic backsliding affected Europeanizing gender equality institutions? I analyze Polish public discourse on the Plenipotentiary for Equality, a policy agency that aims to promote gender equality and antidiscrimination. I trace its framing and trajectories through European Union accession, until the ultraconservative and nationalist backlash in recent years to demonstrate how discursive and institutional linkages between Europeanization, democratization, and gender equality allow not only progress, but can also lead to opportunity moments for democratic and equality backsliding.


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.