Publications of Conny Roggeband

Politicizing Gender and Democracy in the Context of the Istanbul Convention

This book examines opposition to the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention and its consequences for the politics of violence against women in four countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Krizsán and Roggeband discuss why and how successful anti-gender mobilizations managed to obstruct ratification of the Convention or push for withdrawal from it. They show how resistance to the Convention significantly redraws debates on violence against women and has consequences for policies, women’s rights advocacy, and gender-equal democracy.

The Selective Closure of Civic Space

Scholars and NGOs have been raising alarms about the increasing political restraints that civil society organizations face globally. In this paper, we argue that closure is in fact a selective mechanism: governments attempt to reorganize civic space through a dual process of selective in- and exclusion of civil society organizations. Civil society organizations identified as critical of or even anti-government face obstruction and restraints, whereas simultaneously the space and state support for organizations identified as pro-government is expanded. Governments instrumentalize certain civil society organizations to their own benefit: they are sponsored and used to influence the realm of civil society in ways that directly legitimize state power and maintain an appearance of democracy. We illustrate our claims by discussing the reorganization of civic space in some countries of Central and Eastern Europe through the case of women’s rights activism.

Reconfiguring State–Movement Relations in the Context of De-democratization

De-democratization and hostility to gender equality alter relations between states and feminists. State feminism, which focuses on cooperation between feminists and states, needs amendments for applicability in such contexts. We propose the integration of anti-gender actors into the analysis. We also suggest moving away from the assumption that transactional activism targeting states is the most effective strategy for feminists to respond to such hostile contexts and discuss the potential of more diversified forms of engagement. To illustrate our conceptual framework, we look at changing political dynamics in three recent democracies: Croatia, Hungary, and Poland.

Democratic backsliding and backlash against women’s rights: Understanding the current challenges for feminist politics.

rends of de-democratization across Europe and the Americas have emerged along with opposition to gender equality and threats to previous gender equality policy achievements. Yet, de-democratization is rarely analysed through the lens of gender equality and, so far, efforts to systematically examine the implications for inclusive democracy and the representation of gender interests are fragmented. Backsliding on gender policies and on state commitments to gender equality, and new forms of feminist engagement with hostile governments and audiences, also raise new challenges to the literature on gender and politics. In this paper, we propose a conceptual framework to discuss these two interrelated realms: backsliding on gender equality policies and the emerging political space for feminist responses to this backsliding. We illustrate our framework with empirical observations from three Central and Eastern European countries: Croatia, Hungary, and Poland. We aim to contribute to an understanding of the gendered aspects of de-democratization and the functioning of illiberal democracies.

Krizsan A, Sebestyen A. Gender equality policy backsliding and women’s movement reactions to it in Hungary. In: Krizsan A, Roggeband C, editors. Gendering Democratic Backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe. A comparative agenda. Budapest: CEU CPS; 2019. (CPS E-book series).

The Gender Politics of Domestic Violence. Feminists Engaging the State in Central and Eastern Europe

What are the factors that shape domestic violence policy change and how are variable gendered meanings produced in these policies? How and when can feminists influence policy making? What conditions and policy mechanisms lead to progressive change and which ones block it or lead to reversal? The Gender Politics of Domestic Violence analyzes the emergence of gender equality sensitive domestic violence policy reforms in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Tracing policy developments in Eastern Europe from the beginning of 2000s, when domestic violence first emerged on policy agendas, until 2015, Andrea Krizsán and Conny Roggeband look into the contestation that takes place between women’s movements, states and actors opposing gender equality to explain the differences in gender equality sensitive policy outputs across the region. They point to regionally specific patterns of feminist engagement with the state in which coalition-building between women’s organizations and establishing alliances with different state actors were critical for achieving gendered policy progress. In addition, they demonstrate how discursive contexts shaped by democratization frames and opposition to gender equality, led to differences in the politicization of gender equality, making gender friendly reforms more feasible in some countries than others.

Towards a Conceptual Framework for Struggles over Democracy in Backsliding States: Gender Equality Policy in Central Eastern Europe

Trends of de-democratization across Europe and the Americas are emerging, along with opposition to gender equality and threats to previous gender equality policy gains. Yet de-democratization has been barely analysed through the lens of gender equality, and so far, efforts to systematically analyse the implications for inclusive democracy and the representation of gender interests are lacking. Backsliding in gender policies, and new forms of feminist engagement with hostile states and publics, also raise new challenges to the literature on gender and politics. In this article we explore gender equality policy backsliding in fragile democracies. Backsliding and de-democratization processes in these contexts pose a series of important challenges to how we have thought about gender policy change in progressive, mainly Western democratic contexts until now. We propose a conceptual framework discussing these two conceptually interesting realms: backsliding in gender equality policies, and feminist responses to backsliding. We illustrate our framework with empirical observations from four backsliding or temporarily backsliding Central and Eastern European countries: Croatia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. With our article we aim to contribute to the understanding of gendered aspects of de-democratization both in gender and politics literature and in mainstream democratization literature.

Reversing gender policy progress: patterns of backsliding in Central and Eastern European new democracies.

Gender and politics literature has a strong focus on policy progress and the conditions that facilitate progressive change. Yet, increased opposition to gender equality makes it urgent to examine if and how current attacks affect existing gender-equality policies and institutions. We develop a conceptual framework to map patterns of backsliding of gender-equality policies. Empirically, we focus on Central and Eastern Europe as a notable example of backsliding. We find that rather than the direct dismantling of gender-equality policies, the core dimensions challenged by processes of backsliding are implementation and accountability. We argue that backsliding affects the legitimacy and effectiveness of existing laws and undermines democracy.

Reversing Gender Policy Progress: Patterns of Backsliding in Central and Eastern European New Democracies.

Gender and politics literature has a strong focus on policy progress and the conditions that facilitate progressive change. Yet, increased opposition to gender equality makes it urgent to examine if and how current attacks affect existing gender-equality policies and institutions. We develop a conceptual framework to map patterns of backsliding of gender-equality policies. Empirically, we focus on Central and Eastern Europe as a notable example of backsliding. We find that rather than the direct dismantling of gender-equality policies, the core dimensions challenged by processes of backsliding are implementation and accountability. We argue that backsliding affects the legitimacy and effectiveness of existing laws and undermines democracy.