15. august 2019

Plenary panel

Gender Backlash in Europe? Effects on debates, policies and practice

Plenary panel for the Third European Conference on Domestic Violence (ECDV) in Oslo

September 4, at 11.00-12.30

May-Len Skilbrei

Moderator May-Len Skilbrei. Photo: J. Ystehede, UiO

Legislation directed at protecting against gendered harms and introducing rights to LGTBQI-populations has changed considerably throughout Europe in the last two decades. While much of this has entailed better protection and more rights, this is not a development that points only in one direction. Over time, across jurisdiction and across phenomena, the approach is undergoing change, and Europe as a whole is offering better protections and more rights in some respects, and less in others.

In parts of Europe, the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence has been met with resistance from opponents of gender equality and LGTBQI populations This resistance seems to be symptomatic of a wider backlash against gender equality and LGTBQI-rights in Europe.

This plenary panel will address current European developments, with a particular view to what is often presented as ‘central/eastern European backlash’. The context of shifting legislation and rights is euro skepticism, right-wing populism and nationalism, and religion, but cannot be seen as unrelated to disappointment about the European project, precarity and marginality. This panel will thus be about differences and similarities in how protection and rights are developing and are met with resistance in Europe today.

The panel will include five panelists, in addition to professor May-Len Skilbrei who will serve as a moderator. Each panelist will be given ten minutes to respond to a set of questions in their introductions. This will serve as a starting point for a conversation amongst the panelists as well as for follow-up questions from the moderator and comments from the audience.


  • Tatiana Barandova, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies
  • Shaban Darakchi, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Zuzana Očenášová, Coordination and Methodological Centre for Prevention of Gender-based Violence in Slovakia
  • Monika Platek, Department of Criminology, University of Warsaw
  • Tove Smadaahl, Secretariat of Crisis Centres in Norway

Moderator: May-Len Skilbrei, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo, and NOVA, Oslo Metropolitan University.