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

November 28, 2018

The article written by Conny Roggeband (University of Amsterdam) and Andrea Krizsan (CEU Center for Policy Studies) is published in the European Journal of Politics and Gender.

The paper examines the implications of democratic backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe for gender equality policies and arrangements.


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.

The article is available online here.