Opposition to Gender Equality in Domestic Violence Policy Debates

September 27, 2013

On September 6th Research Fellow Andrea Krizsan presented a paper on Contesting Gender Equality in Domestic Violence Policy Debates in Five Countries of Central and Eastern Europe at the General conference of the European Consortium for Political Research in Bordeaux.

The panel called Opposition to Gender Equality in Europe was run by ECPR's Standing Group on Gender and Politics.


Introducing domestic violence policies, a core policy issue for women’s movements, has now been on the agenda of all states in Europe for at least the last decade. It is now quite consensual to say that intervening in intimate matters in case of domestic violence is state obligation. Moreover it is rarely acceptable in policy debates to bluntly dismiss arguments about the wrongful nature of domestic violence against women as such. One could argue that explicit statements supporting violence against women in the family have now disappeared almost completely from the realm of policy making in Europe. Yet in many countries adoption of better or new laws and policies on domestic violence is stalled, while laws and policies adopted are often not supportive of the rights of women victims. Opposition to gender transformative progress in this field is successfully blocking attempts for reform, often leads to adoption of policies that are not supportive of women victims, or leads to implementation patterns that are contrary to objectives of women’s rights advocates. This paper aims to analyze patterns of framing opposition to gender equality in domestic violence policy debates and look into the conceptual relationship between gender equality frames and contesting frames. The paper will also discuss how approaches contesting gender equality are introduced into policy design as well as their impact on implementation patterns. The paper will primarily focus on frame analysis, but will also connect contestation to actors articulating it and their relation to women’s rights groups and mechanisms for impacting on policy processes. The analysis will look at policy debates in five countries of Europe: Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland and Romania, but relate findings to patterns of opposition in a variety of other countries in Europe and North America, as documented in secondary literature.

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