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Politicizing Gender and Democracy in the Context of the Istanbul Convention

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Explores the remarkable trajectory of the Istanbul Convention? across Europe
  • Argues that the debates around the Convention paradoxically pushed the politicization of gender aspects of violence against women
  • Claims that the Convention has sparked a debate on the future of Europe and gender equality as one of its core values

Part of the book series: Gender and Politics (GAP)

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About this book

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.

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Table of contents (6 chapters)


“The book provides both meticulously researched and detailed analyses of the development in the individual countries … . Krizsán’s and Roggeband’s book skilfully marries an in-depth … in four countries with more generally applicable – certainly for the Central and Eastern European region and likely beyond – observations … . Their concern – laid out in the book … that these processes undermine gender-equal democracy is valid. We should read it and take heed.” (Barbara Havelková, CEU Review of Books,, September, 2023)

“The book by Andrea Krizsán and Conny Roggeband makes an invaluable contribution … . Politicizing Gender and Democracy in the Context of the Istanbul Convention is an example of excellent analysis of a contemporary phenomenon of anti-gender mobilization. It is stimulating and provocative and will undoubtedly become the starting point for scholars interested in civil society in all its forms.” (Galina A. Nelaeva and Elena A. Khabarova, Affilia, March 7, 2022)

“The book makes an important contribution to research on political mobilisation against gender equality, as well as on the efforts of feminist movements to elevate combatting violence against women on the political agenda. … this book is therefore essential reading for scholars and activists in the fields of political science, gender studies, and pubic and global health.” (Lynda Gilby, Intersections, East European Journal of Society and Politics, Vol. 7 (4), 2021)

“In this meticulously documented study, Krizsán and Roggeband demonstrate how the Istanbul Convention mobilized conservative forces, fostered intricate ties between autocratic states and nonstate actors, refigured civil society to advantage anti-equality activists, defunded feminist organizations providing services to abused women and shifted resources to conservative organizations favoring ‘family values’ over women’s empowerment. Their insightful analysis has vital lessons for those concerned with social justice in the 21st century.” (—Mary Hawkesworth, Rutgers University, USA)


“This incisive analysis of the politics of violence against women in Central and Eastern Europe highlights how some determined governments are blocking or reversing important gains on the international legal front through concerted political and civic action. It is a cautionary story with important implications for the broader fight to advance women’s rights globally.” (—Thomas Carothers,Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA)


“This important study compares and challenges Central and Eastern European pushback movements against the Istanbul Convention. The Convention for the first time provides legally binding definitions of ‘gender’ and ‘gender-based violence against women’, misinterpreted by conservative forces opposing this progressive international instrument. This book shows how positive instruments like the Istanbul Convention can be judged as problematic and that much more is needed to make gender equality a reality.” (—Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, United Nations)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Central European University, Vienna, Austria

    Andrea Krizsán

  • University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Conny Roggeband

About the authors

Andrea Krizsán is Professor at the Central European University, Austria.

Conny Roggeband is Associate Professor of political science at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Bibliographic Information

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