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SISP Conference 2022

Sections and Panels

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Section 11 - Gender and Politics (Jolly)

Managers: Pamela Pansardi (, Massimo Prearo (

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Negli ultimi vent’anni, il filone della scienza politica che si focalizza sulle questioni di genere – che ha assunto la denominazione, nel panorama internazionale, di gender and politics – si è aggiunto a pieno titolo ai suoi vari ambiti disciplinari ed ha assunto un’identità propria, separata dalle prospettive di genere assunte da discipline vicine, come la sociologia, la filosofia politica e l’economia, sebbene sempre in dialogo con esse. Gli studi diretti all’analisi del rapporto fra genere, sessualità e politica, anche in una prospettiva intersezionale, hanno permeato la scienza politica tutta, dalla teoria politica alla politica comparata, dalle relazioni internazionali alla comunicazione politica, muovendosi su approcci epistemologici diversi, utilizzando strumenti metodologici quantitativi e qualitativi.

In questo contesto, la promozione degli studi di genere nell’ambito della scienza politica italiana diviene una necessità, da un lato, per contribuire a colmare un vuoto di studi e ricerche sul tema che a lungo ha caratterizzato il panorama italiano, dall’altro, per favorire gli scambi e le relazioni fra studiose e studiosi italiani e internazionali che investigano questo argomento, e per fornire un punto di riferimento a giovani studiose e studiosi che scelgono di affacciarvisi.

La Sezione invita proposte di panel e paper che affrontano i temi legati alle questioni di genere, LGBT+ e intersezionalità dalla prospettiva specifica della scienza politica, estendendone e rinnovandone il campo. Fra i temi di interesse rientrano, in maniera non esaustiva: teoria e metodologia; rappresentanza politica; partiti ed elezioni; comportamento di voto; politiche pubbliche; movimenti sociali; comunicazione politica; social media e tecnologia; governo locale; relazioni internazionali; studi europei.

Lo Sezione promuove, inoltre, le interazioni e le collaborazioni con studiose e studiosi appartenenti a discipline vicine alla scienza politica (filosofia politica e del diritto, sociologia politica, economia, diritto), nella logica di un approccio interdisciplinare ai temi d’interesse, ma anche di apertura e contaminazione reciproca su temi caratterizzanti altre discipline.

Panel 11.1 The Gender Gap in Academia

Addressing the gender gap in European political science is a major issue. Characteristically, in 2016 the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) published its first Gender Study report, followed by a Gender Equality Plan in 2018. Meanwhile, the American Political Science Association had been concerned with this issue since the early 1990s. In the case of ECPR, the project has included, for example, two symposia (in 2020 and 2022) in the Consortium’s in-house journal European Political Science, examining the gender gap in academic publishing. The panel convenors’ participation in this project sensitised us to the multiple dimensions of the problem and alerted us to the possibility that women may be developing particular coping strategies.
The aim of this panel is to contribute to this ongoing debate by casting light on the extent of the problem, highlighting different aspects of women’s underrepresentation within academia, and hopefully stimulating a comparative perspective. Furthering this debate is essential if we are to shape academic policies which will redress the gender gap.
A non-exclusive list of questions that could be addressed might include the following:
How many women are there in proportion to men in political science? And at which career stages? Do women move into tenure track positions at the same rate as men? What is the proportion of women among academics with senior positions? To what extent do women participate in academic governance?
Do women publish less than men? What do women publish – what type of works and what type of subjects? Where do they publish? What are their strategies with regard to single- or co-authoring?
To what extent do women act as gatekeepers in academic publishing (e.g. as members of journal editorial boards) or in professional associations? How active are women as participants and leaders in research networks?
More generally, what type of problems do women face in managing their academic careers (e.g. work-life balance, imposter problem, institutional constraints, disproportionate burden of academic service chores)? What kind of strategies do women adopt to fix these?
What do academic institutions, including political science associations, do to promote women in political science? What kind of changes might be required to really reduce the gender gap?
National, subnational and comparative case studies providing data or information on any of the above aspects will be welcome.

Chairs: Anna Bosco, Susannah Verney

Discussants: Sorina Soare

Academic Gender Gap and Career Stage: Some Evidence from South European Studies Journals
Anna Bosco, Susannah Verney
Previous research has revealed that there is a gender gap in academic publication, with women publishing less than men. It also appears that men and women may have different publication strategies, in particular with regard to solo or co-authorship. The aim of this paper is to investigate this phenomenon further and especially how the gender gap may relate to career stage. Do senior and junior academics have different preferences with regard to their authorship strategies and does this vary by gender? Is teamwork a strategy for female academics regardless of academic age? Does the choice to publish alone come at different career points for men and women? Do different preferences perhaps reflect a confidence gap between men and women academics? These questions will be addressed through an examination of the publication data of South European Society and Politics and at least one other political science journal related with South European academia.
How to decrease the ‘gender gap’ in publications and citations: an editorial perspective
Catherine Moury, Marina Costa Lobo
A well-established finding is that women publish less than men (for example, 30% to 70% in political science in the last decade), which does not reflect the growing gender balance which has been achieved in the discipline over the last decades in terms of scholars in the field. Even controlling for other factors (seniority, geography, etc.), women are less cited than men. Considering the impact of publications as well as their importance for progression in academic careers, those are serious problems that should be addressed. There has been a growing interest in addressing these issues and different journals have put forward different strategies. Yet, the question of how to address the publication and citation gender gaps by editors is difficult. For example, the publication gap is driven by a previous submission gap which is difficult to address from the journal editors’ perspective. It can also be difficult to differentiate between men and women without negating the existence of gender fluidity. In this paper, we discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls of possible solutions to the publication and citation gender gap, together with the difficulties related to the introduction and implementation of those. We begin by mapping the policies which different journals have introduced and have been discussed in the literature. Then, we analyse the results of two policies recently introduced by European Political Science Review: the positive discrimination in favour of women at the desk-decision stage and the obligation for every author who submits an article to verify if their bibliography represents fairly women and minorities. Our article will contribute with data collected by the journal which will hopefully contribute to the creation of best practices when dealing with the issues of publication and citation gender gap.
Permanent jobs inside and outside academia: the role of gender and field of study
Alessandra Minello, Valentina Tocchioni
Few women nowadays still decide to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Among them those obtaining a PhD have a double choice for their career: some chose to walk the academic path, some opt for working in the public or private sector. The analysis of their career paths is still incomplete in the international literature and can have an impact on family trajectories. The Italian context offers a challenging frame for the study of women in STEM, since it is one of the countries with the lowest gender balance in participation, and highest disadvantage of women in terms of wages and level of occupation. Using data from the Istat (Italian National Institute of Statistics) Survey on occupational conditions of Italian PhD holders, conducted in 2018 by contacting all PhD holders who had obtained their qualification from an Italian academic institute in 2012 and 2014, we study the careers of women in STEM, focusing on their chances to obtain a permanent position. We compare women in STEM, separating academic and non-academic ones, with men choosing the same fields of study, and women opting for a PhD in the humanities. Our results demonstrate that women in STEM, and especially academic women suffer a multiple disadvantage in the labour market. They obtain a permanent position later than academic men in STEM, academic women in the humanities and also of women working outside the academia. Moreover, once we look at their career in a longer time span, we notice that the gap with all the above mentioned groups is never closed. For women, choosing the academic career in STEM means having a longer frame of time in a condition of economic uncertainty. This might have an effect also on their private life trajectories, since economic uncertainty is connected with later entry in union formation and reduced fertility.

Panel 11.3 Gender, social movements, and political mobilization (I)

Research on gender and political participation has primarily focused on how the involvement in protest or institutional politics varies by gender, while analyzing differences in terms of biographical availability, motivations, taste for tactics, levels of participation, organizational practices, and outcomes. Others have also expanded on the role that different gender regimes play in shaping motivations to participate in politics. But this body of work failed to consider systematically the effects of gender on political activism. Only recently, a new strand of research began to reconceptualize the relationship between gender and social movements by inquiring not only how gender affects social movement structures and processes, but how social movements, in turn, affect gender. Many social movements have targeted the structures, cultural practices, and interactional norms that sustain gender inequality. Even in movements that do not mobilize specifically around gender issues, gender constitutes a central feature of social structure, culture, and everyday life. Scholarship at the intersection of the fields of gender and social movements has advanced several areas of social movement inquiry, such as collective identity and intersectionality, collective action frames, movement leadership, political and cultural opportunity structures and constraints, movement tactics and strategies, and movement outcomes.

The panel calls for papers examining the theoretical and empirical links between gender dimensions and political participation, including but not limited to:

- the gendered outcomes of activism at different levels (macro, meso and micro)
- empirical analyses on different dimensions of contemporary movements and organizations engaged in struggles for gender and sexual equality
- the ways that gender operates in all social movements and in the political environments that affect them, differentiating between feminist and antifeminist movements
- the ways that femininity, masculinity, non-binary, and transgender experiences influence movement dynamics
The panel aims at integrating gender and social movement theories to propose a framework for understanding how movements are gendered in their origins, collective identities, collective action frames, organization, tactics, and political and cultural opportunities. Together with the section chairs, we will ensure a balanced representation of scholars from different geographical areas and at different career stages.

Chairs: Anna Lavizzari

Discussants: Daniela Chironi, Massimo Prearo, Anna Lavizzari

Opportunities, diffusion or structural reasons? The roots of Non Una Di Meno
Daniela Chironi, Francesca Spalla
This paper focuses on the transfeminist movement Non Una Di Meno (NUDM, Not One Less), formed in Italy in 2016 in the wake of a new feminist wave at the international level. Started as a national “protest event” in reaction to the feminicide of a young girl, in the following year the movement delocalized transforming into a stable national network, with local nodes in all major cities. Constantly active since then, NUDM has become a stable presence in the Italian movement scene, interacting with institutional politics and other social movements in various ways. Contradicting scholarly expectations linked to “protest cycles”, which see social movements as temporary efforts that tend to rise, stagnate and ultimately fall, NUDM has in fact been able to develop a distinct transfeminist subjectivity and a flexible and horizontal organization. This centrality notwithstanding, research on NUDM is still incomplete, and several aspects are yet to be studied. Here we aim to provide an explanation for the birth, development, and durable structuration of NUDM. Specifically, we consider three explanatory mechanisms. First, building on the concept of “political opportunities”, we take into account both contingent opportunities, represented by media covering of femicides, and (the closing of) systemic opportunities, represented by the lack of party allies due to the marginality of the radical left and the moderatism of the centre-left. Second, we analyse the effects of the “diffusion” of symbols, frames, and forms of actions developed abroad. Third, we look at NUDM as a “movement of the crisis” which, differently than movements which emerge in times of affluence, has its roots in the structural inequalities linked to capitalist dynamics of production and neoliberal policies. Conceptually, our works has the vocation to bridge social movement studies with Marxist, neo-Marxist and materialist feminism perspectives. Methodologically, we rely on qualitative data coming from thirty in-depth interviews with key NUDM activists, collected between 2020 and 2022. While official data on feminicides and on women’s material conditions in Italy are included in the analysis, activists’ accounts remain the primary sources of knowledge on the origins and scopes of the movement.
Religious feminists facing populism in Italy
Alberta Giorgi
Italy is characterized by different “varieties of populism”, including the far-right populist Lega Nord as well as the centrist populist Five Stars Movement, which uphold different positions with regard to gender issues and religion. The Lega Nord presents itself as the guardian of Christianity against Islam, and it maintains that women have to be defended from threatening foreign masculinities. At the same time, the party proposes an “emancipatory complementarism” understanding of gender relations, framing women as both mothers and warriors of the nation. Lega Nord discourse also supports the activities of conservative religious movements and groups that act in defence of what they call the “traditional family”. Five Stars Movement, instead, rarely touches upon the issue of religion and it proposes a multilayered understanding of gender relations and gender-related issues, which includes, on occasion, the criticism against Italian society's patriarchal sexism. The Italian context, then, offers an inspiring case-study to nuance the analysis of the entanglements of religion, gender and populism. Against this background, this contribution focuses on religious feminists in Italy, drawing on data from previous research (semi-structured interviews with Catholic and Islamic feminists, and digital ethnography on Islamic feminism on Instagram and Twitter) and original data focusing on Catholic and Muslim female digital influencers. Religious feminists are particularly interesting as they face a triple challenge - they are in fact marginalized in their religious communities, often overlooked in the public and feminist discourse, and promoting issues under attack by far-right populists. Hence, the contribution seeks to understand (1) how religious feminists assess the populist challenge - whether they focus on populism or the far-right; (2) how they position themselves in relation to contemporary feminist movements; (3) how they assess the role of their own religious communities with respect to the populsit challenge.

Panel 11.3 Gender, social movements, and political mobilization (II)

Research on gender and political participation has primarily focused on how the involvement in protest or institutional politics varies by gender, while analyzing differences in terms of biographical availability, motivations, taste for tactics, levels of participation, organizational practices, and outcomes. Others have also expanded on the role that different gender regimes play in shaping motivations to participate in politics. But this body of work failed to consider systematically the effects of gender on political activism. Only recently, a new strand of research began to reconceptualize the relationship between gender and social movements by inquiring not only how gender affects social movement structures and processes, but how social movements, in turn, affect gender. Many social movements have targeted the structures, cultural practices, and interactional norms that sustain gender inequality. Even in movements that do not mobilize specifically around gender issues, gender constitutes a central feature of social structure, culture, and everyday life. Scholarship at the intersection of the fields of gender and social movements has advanced several areas of social movement inquiry, such as collective identity and intersectionality, collective action frames, movement leadership, political and cultural opportunity structures and constraints, movement tactics and strategies, and movement outcomes.

The panel calls for papers examining the theoretical and empirical links between gender dimensions and political participation, including but not limited to:

- the gendered outcomes of activism at different levels (macro, meso and micro)
- empirical analyses on different dimensions of contemporary movements and organizations engaged in struggles for gender and sexual equality
- the ways that gender operates in all social movements and in the political environments that affect them, differentiating between feminist and antifeminist movements
- the ways that femininity, masculinity, non-binary, and transgender experiences influence movement dynamics
The panel aims at integrating gender and social movement theories to propose a framework for understanding how movements are gendered in their origins, collective identities, collective action frames, organization, tactics, and political and cultural opportunities. Together with the section chairs, we will ensure a balanced representation of scholars from different geographical areas and at different career stages.

Chairs: Anna Lavizzari

Discussants: Daniela Chironi, Massimo Prearo, Anna Lavizzari

Struggling against Sexual Harassment in New York Theatre
Bleuwenn Lechaux
This paper examines the links between gender dimensions and political participation by analyzing the collective actions led in struggles against sexual harassment within New York theater. It is grounded on a political sociology analysis based on a field survey conducted in 2015 and 2017 among some twenty female New York theater activists, before and during the reverberations of the “Weinstein affair”. The outburst of “scandals” and “revelations” (for example, concerning Kevin Spacey or Ben Vereen) gave rise, in 2017, to outpourings of words in interviews in which people were probably speaking publically for the first time about things they had only previously addressed in the context of informal speak-outs. Because, they told me, everybody knew what was going on but nobody did anything about it. In an interview with a female director in 2017, she talked about a Facebook article she had read that very morning about Dustin Hoffman sexually harassing the 17-year old sister of one of her friends, and then about another friend who had also been sexually harassed by Hoffman. She came to the conclusion that the “dam was bursting” and that there wouldn’t be any “good men” left after this deluge of revelations. As Abigail Saguy has shown (2003), within a common-law system such as the one underlying the U.S. legal system, “American feminists and lawyers have had to make a legal case in U.S. courtrooms that sexual harassment violates an existing statute. For strategic and intellectual reasons, they chose to build sexual harassment jurisprudence on Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964]”. This is how sexual harassment came to be defined in the United States as gender-based discrimination in the workplace. “This, in turn, has compelled them to stress certain aspects of the harm of sexual harassment, such as group-based discrimination and employment consequences, and downplay others, such as sexual violence and behavior outside of the workplace”. This specific framework for sexual harassment is not without its challenges where the performing arts are concerned: not only does it lack a strict definition of “workplace” since rehearsals take place both inside and outside performance spaces, but also the professional stakes remain high in spaces that prima facie appear “non-professional,” such as cafés, restaurants or private spaces in which professional networks are created. Furthermore, with regard to scope, the classification of discrimination under Title VII is determined by company size (over fifteen employees). How can activists take these specific characteristics as a starting point and use them to destroy sexual harassment from its foundations up? What tools can be used for providing evidence of sexual assault in the partial overlap between stage and real life practices? The possibility of more lawsuits linked to the visibility of the #MeToo movement has increased initiatives from professional organizations and joint public (New York State) and municipal (New York City) policies, but reflection on how to combat sexual harassment goes back further than this. First of all, telling one’s story and bearing witness, in speak-outs or consciousness raising groups, are political actions in their own right. Support groups play an upstream and downstream role in the process of making the violence known publically. Informal at first, they give credit to women’s voices, often in single-sex groups, and help to circulate information on “reputations,” for preventive purposes, within “whisper circles”, which play a big role, as underlined by a female playwright: “And honestly that’s what we’ve always been doing by whisper telling each other, ‘that guy’s a sleaze, don’t go there.’ ‘If you say no to him he’ll be rude, but just say no, you won’t lose your job.’ Or ‘if you say no you will lose your job.’ That information has always been passed around.” These support groups then became more formalized, fulfilling the purpose of healing survivors’ wounds, notably through the intervention of psychologists. The legitimacy of speaking out as a public course of action has been strengthened with the emergence of the #MeToo movement, but we know that women talk long before they are listened to. Recourse to the law is another way of combatting sexual harassment. On December 4, 2017, theater professionals met at the Public Theater in New York City to discuss tools fighting against sexual harassment “post #MeToo.” This had been an ongoing discussion among theater professionals since 2015 following a major scandal involving the Wooster Group theater company, which the New York Times reported in an article entitled “Sex and Violence, Beyond the Script” about the actor Scott Shepherd’s physical assaults on his then partner, actor Marin Ireland, during the London rehearsals of the play Troilus and Cressida. The case proved to be highly sensitive. Nevertheless, the public scandal helped to develop a collaboration between lawyers and theater professionals, one result of which was the drawing up of “statements of harassment” (notably by the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds, COBUG). Following the December 2017 meeting, Marin Ireland and civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel launched the Human Resources for the Arts project on January 16, 2018. The aim was to create pro bono mediation (with a mediator who does not work in the theater world), in particular for microaggressions. Furthermore, the use of digital tools such as Callisto, an application launched in 2015 for reporting sexual assault and that matches presumed victims, is seen as a way of overcoming a threefold difficulty as it (i) breaks victims’ isolation, the fragmentation of which is sharpened by the increase in professional structures that employ them and shorter employment contracts, leading to the decollectivization of forms of combatting sexual harassment, (ii) avoids one person from bearing the financial and psychological costs and consequences of reporting an assault, and (iii) allows “strength in numbers” thereby making a person’s report more credible and robust, increasing the likelihood that they will be believed and not suspected of lying about a practice that has been denounced as discriminatory. This technology is mainly used in universities, but in March 2018, a meeting took place to see if this technology could be transposed to the theater industry. The principle is that a victim writes an account of the assault and the application keeps a record of it over a long period of time so that when another victim names the same aggressor, a Callisto agent offers to put them in contact to discuss how they will follow up their respective assaults and includes testimonials from survivors explaining how useful they found the application. This discreet matching of several victims also aims to give more weight and credibility to the action and, as such, mitigate the potentially harmful effects on an artist’s reputation after speaking out. It responds, at least in part, to the challenge of externalizing the reporting of offences or crimes. Beyond Callisto, this externalization was advocated during the Public Theater meeting on December 4, 2017, notably by playwright and journalist Winter Miller, who is also a member of the board of directors of the artistic collective FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. Creating digital traces and matching reports that name the same perpetrator will help to prevent a harasser’s identity being forgotten with the passing of each academic year, something that would erase the traces of their assaults and, therefore, enable the assaults to be continued. Some tools aim to mitigate the risks involved in performing arts practice itself by offering a guarantee to preserve emotional safety. One such example is Intimacy Directors International, a non-profit organization providing training on safe rehearsal and performance practices during scenes of intimacy. They have five pillars: context, consent, communication, choreography and closure. Based on these pillars, each scene of intimacy is discussed beforehand between the parties involved to come to a mutual understanding and agreement about its development, and from which any unexpected gesture is excluded. Giving an issue visibility does not automatically mean that the issue will be addressed. In the case that this paper would present, however, the outrage caused by discriminatory practices moved the issue up the public agenda by accelerating the implementation of procedures, which can only come up against the continuum of gender inequalities (MacKinnon, 1979) – sexual harassment being one expression of it. Biographical references (included in this summary): MacKinnon, C. A., Sexual Harassment of Working Women, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1979. Saguy, A. C., What is Sexual Harassment? From Capitol Hill to the Sorbonne, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2003.
Women’s protests in times of democratic backsliding: a comparative analysis of Hungary and Poland
Anna Gwiazda
This article explores the participation of women in protest politics, specifically looking at protests organised by women. Using the most similar systems design, it examines two Central European countries which experienced democratic backsliding but show different degrees of women’s mobilisation in response to illiberal changes and limitations of women’s rights: whereas women’s activism has been limited in Hungary, in Poland women have actively participated in demonstrations in the streets to defend their rights. This puzzle is explained using a demand and supply model which explores an interaction between the strength of feminist movements, protest alliances and issue salience. This article also reveals that feminist protests are counteractions to illiberalism and ultra-conservative crusading. Overall, this article draws inferences about the nexus between gender and contentious politics, participatory democracy and protests and thus contributes to the scholarly literature by examining a timely issue against the backdrop of populism, illiberalism and anti-gender campaigns.
“Abortion should not be illegal, it should be unthinkable” Rethinking gender relationships in the Belgian “pro-life” movement
Anne Sophie Crosetti
Organizations combatting abortion, self-identified as “pro-life” movements, are particularly active in Europe. What is striking is how young many of the activists are, suggesting that the “pro-life” movements have undergone a significant “generational renewal”: the new Belgian “pro-life” group “Gloria” , developed in 2020, is led by a team of 10 young professionals and students in their twenties, and has more than 70 “volunteers” in the same age group. This young group thinks itself as the “pro-life” generation, as in many other European countries. This renewed youth activism in the pro-life movement raises important questions, in particular because many surveys suggest the opposite, i.e. that young people see abortion as a right (Valk and al., 2009). However, suggesting that these activists are “opposed” to the young people of their generation can lead to think they have not evolved and remained the heirs of the 1970s movements. While created in the bosom of the Church – and in its defense – in 1968, the “pro-life” movement in Belgium has undergone deep transformations. These transformations can be brought out to the forefront through a sociology of activists. Who is this “pro-life generation”? In what way have they changed the “pro-life” movement? The paper will be based on interviews conducted in a comprehensive perspective (Avanza, 2018) with activists (both male and female) involved in “Gloria”. The interviews conducted with these young activists offer an insight of their social characteristics. They also revealed how these activists position themselves regarding their own history and traditional repertoire of actions and argumentation. Activists indeed changed radically their image and their repertoire of actions, in order to get away from outdated perceptions of “pro-life” activists and to attract a more diversified audience. “Gloria” has moved away from its religious foundation. The activists all put some distance between their religious identity and their involvement, refusing to see a correlation between their “pro-life” position and their catholic socialization. Moreover, they moved to a more secular argumentation and discourse. To what extent? The sociology of activists reveals that they all self-define as Catholics and that Catholicism remains important in the movement. Yet, this distance between religion and their involvement in the group reveals a will to reach a more universal audience with a more universal argumentation. They use “strategic secularization” (Vaggione, 2005). What form does this strategic secularization take? This new generation in Belgium has substituted religious argumentation by “pro woman” and sometimes what they identify as “feminist” assertions. If religion has been commonly associated to “pro-life” groups, feminism has, on the contrary, been perceived as opposed to “anti-abortion” movements. This apparent contradiction must be questioned. What does it mean for “pro-life” movements to be “feminist”? What does it say on the type of discourses they wish to bring to the fore? Further than just feminism, the activists develop a narrative around femininity and masculinity regarding sexuality, contraception, and abortion. “Responsibility” comes at the core of their argumentation, some of the activists blaming men to be “irresponsible” and women victims of this irresponsibility. This inequality is perceived as encouraged by the society since the “sexual liberation”. Abortion would not free women but on the contrary would reinforce these inequalities. As a social movement, combatting abortion would therefore be a way to change gender relationships, and the society. In a society that partially decriminalized abortion, the activists do not want to act on the legal aspect of abortion, considering it “useless”. Modifying gender relationships and sexual and reproductive practices is the way they envision their political action, explaining that “abortion shouldn’t be illegal, it should be unthinkable”. In this paper, I will show how the Belgian social movement try to affect gender relationships and how the evolution of the gender relationships since the “sexual revolution” also modified how these activists envision their argumentation. As abortion and more globally sexual and reproductive norms are at the core of gender relationships, trying to modify this practice requires to reconsider gender relationships without resorting to religion to do so. I make the hypothesis that, while they oppose the individualization of the “sexual revolution” leading to abortion and gender inequality, the activists defend their “pro-life” position through a very individualized discourse (Sanna, 2016). “Feminism” and “responsibility” are in these activists’ case a category through which they can merge into the liberal discourse of the self while at the same time defending a traditional approach of gender relationships and therefore combat abortion as a right.

Panel 11.4 Unpacking LGBT+ politics through the prism of political science

In the last decade, issues related to gender and sexuality have become an unavoidable dimension of political analysis. In particular, LGBT+ issues have come out of the closet – not without some difficulties – and now constitute an angle of observation of political processes that no longer need to be justified. European and international political science conferences have already integrated sections and panels dedicated explicitly to analyzing LGBT+ politics. However, as part of a legitimation strategy, the approach adopted has often been to show to what extent LGBT+ politics are "political".

Taking the opportunity of the "Gender and Politics" Section, this panel proposes to take stock of the state of the art and question an ongoing shift. Rather than focusing on how LGBT+ issues are political, we propose examining how political science tools can be used to understand LGBT+ issues better. We seek to unpack LGBT+ politics to grasp their complexity and multidimensionality. Ultimately, we aim to extend the field of (Italian) political science by taking LGBT+ politics seriously.

Specifically, we expect to discuss research that situates LGBT+ politics within studies of political parties, the European Union, public policies, parliaments and governments, regimes, electoral studies, voting behavior, etc. We welcome proposals that investigate – but are not limited to – the following questions:

- How to study LGBT+ politics from the perspective of party-politics studies?
- How to understand the role of LGBT+ politics from the perspective of political and institutional processes of the European Union and European integration?
- Which tools do electoral studies offer to analyze the behavior of the LGBT+ electorate? And where do we stand with the study of LGBT+ vote?
- From the perspective of policy studies, how do we understand the making of LGBT+ issues as policy tools? And what are the effects of these transformations?
- Do studies of political regimes offer conceptual and methodological tools to capture the influence of LGBT+ politics on institutional change? And how do LGBT+ politics affect such changes?

Chairs: Massimo Prearo, Koen Slootmaeckers

Discussants: Koen Slootmaeckers

Allies as Allies? A Critical Analysis of NATO’s Positioning/s of LGBTQ+ Politics, Rights, and Inclusion
Matthew Hurley
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is making increasing moves towards publicly acknowledging and promoting LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion internationally. In 2019 an LGBTQ+ 'side-event' was held at NATO HQ as part of the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives (NCGP) Annual Conference. This was followed in 2021 by the first ‘Proud at NATO’ conference. This paper argues that conceptual insights and methodological tools from (critical) feminist institutionalism can offer ways for better understanding (advances and regressions in) LGBTQ+ politics within NATO itself and within civilian and military policies and politics of the member states of the alliance. Drawing on direct observations from the 2019 event and an analysis of public statements of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ from high profile NATO personnel, the paper explores the ways in which NATO as an institution of international hegemonic (heterosexual) masculinity can act as a ‘teaching machine’ (Wright et al, 2019) for its members. In doing so, the paper demonstrates how NATO ‘allyship’ is (re)conceived, mobilised, and strategically deployed (often uncritically) to align with NATO’s understanding of itself as a ‘values-led’ alliance thereby fostering institutional change whilst simultaneously masking the diversity of LGBTQ+ rights, inclusion, and lived-experiences in the domestic politics of NATO’s thirty member-states. Analysing NATO in such a way therefore offers valuable insights into the politics of change, in the institution, in member states and in LGBTQ+ politics in the North Atlantic region more broadly.
Ideological positioning or political strategy? The failure of legislation against LGBT+ hate crimes in Italy
Massimo Prearo, Francesca Feo
Italy lags behind other European countries in recognising LGBT+ rights. The last attempt to adopt measures to fight discrimination and violence against LGBT+ failed in October 2021, when the Senate of the Italian Parliament rejected the so-called “Zan bill”. Had it been adopted, the bill would have penalized discrimination, violence and hate speech on grounds of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability, while introducing a national day against Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (17th of May), as well as educational activities to prevent LGBT+ discrimination in schools’ curricula. The halt to the Zan bill came after the bill had been approved in the Lower House during the same parliamentary term, with a large majority and a relatively fast and consensual procedure. In this light, the legislative process in the Senate seemed more like a terrible shipwreck. The legislative process, as well as the public debate, was particularly heated over the definitions included in the bill ¬ such as sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity ¬ and the bill’s consequences for educational and schooling system. The bill’s process in the Senate took place in a changed political setting, characterized by a changed governing coalition and different balance of power between parliamentary parties. In this paper we seek to unpack the dynamics that lead to the failure of the Zan bill. We focus on the interplay between ideological hostility to the bill, which makes it difficult to adopt such legislative initiatives to guarantee LGBT rights in Italy, and strategic dynamics of party competition, which then feed in the polarized party conflict. Empirically, the analysis is based on a computer-assisted critical frame analysis of all legislative debates related to the Zan bill in the Italian Parliament. We compare MPs and parliamentary parties’ framing over time comparing the debates held in the Chamber of Deputy (t0) and in the Senate (t1), to understand the relevance of ideological and strategic opposition in shaping the outcome in the legislative process. More broadly, the paper engages with the literature on morality politics seeking to extend its scope and questioning the traditional “two-worlds” model. In addition, it draws from party politics scholarship to assess the impact of party competition on morality policy-making in the Italian party system.
Intersectionally analyzing LGBTI visibility in political representation
Anne Louise Schotel
Gender identity and sexuality are core markers of social identities and central to current political struggles. However, within political sciences, studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex people (LGBTI) have been questioned and framed as too political, too private, or irrelevant, and a common research agenda has been lacking. Using the study of LGBTI visibility in political representation as a case, this contribution highlights new avenues for research in political science. Studying the visibility of LGBTI people in politics asks for critical assessment of hegemonic constructions of sexuality and gender identity and how they create and limit the possibilities for political representation. Copy-and-pasting approaches used to study other marginalized groups overlooks these questions. I suggest an intersectional perspective is needed for the empirical study of LGBTI representation and visibility and argue for its applicability to political science research more broadly. Besides revealing an ethnocentric bias towards a historically Western experience, the use of the label ‘LGBTI’ raises questions about within-group hierarchies and the way homogenous categorizations privilege the experiences of some, while invisibilising others. I argue that incorporating gender identity and sexuality as central research lenses raises critical questions of categorization, visibility and intersectionality that are relevant for the study of other marginalized groups and political science more broadly.

Panel 11.5 Gender Dynamics of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

This panel explores successes, challenges, and ongoing efforts to advance the UN Security Council (UNSC)’s first resolution on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), No. 1325, that was adopted in 2000. The resolution aimed to address the gendered impact of armed conflict and the need to promote the rights of women and girls in terms of protection and participation in conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding. Twenty years later, the WPS Agenda consists of 10 resolutions, many Security Council Presidential Statements, and a global policy architecture that guides the work of national and local governments and Parliaments, of international organizations, civil society organizations and transnational advocacy networks.
However, the implementation of the WPS Agenda has been uneven: periods of initial silence and relative inaction have been followed by a flurry of substantial global policy-making. UN Women reports that women’s human rights defenders worldwide are facing attacks and that there is a worldwide increase in violence against women – also, but not exclusively – in the public sphere and in the media.
Likewise, there is concern over the effective implementation of the WPS Agenda in cases of women belonging to marginalized communities exposed to intersectional discriminations. In July 2021, a Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact began to advocate for more financing and promotion of women’s leadership and agency. Additionally, there are various campaigns for WPS actors to adopt and ensure a more insectional approach in order to better understand persisting barriers to the inclusion for women and young girls.
This panel aims to reveal the many and multidisciplinary layers of gender dynamics that exist between the normative agenda, its national and local implementation, and effective practices. We invite scholars working on the WPS Agenda to join this panel with case studies that connect to the four pillars – Participation, Conflict Prevention, Protection and Relief and Recovery – as well as provide research on the rule of law agenda and gender-sensitive transitional justice processes. We welcome contributions that apply the WPS framework also to current crises and conflicts, such as those in Afghanistan and Ukraine, as well as the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on peace and security programs, and the legislative measures enacted at the national level.

ITALIANO - Le dinamiche di genere nell'Agenda ONU in tema di donne, pace e sicurezza
Il panel intende esplorare i successi, le sfide e gli sforzi tuttora in corso per dare esecuzione alla prima risoluzione del Consiglio di Sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite (UNSC) su donne, pace e sicurezza (WPS), la n. 1325, adottata nel 2000. La risoluzione mirava ad affrontare l’impatto di genere dei conflitti armati e la necessità di promuovere i diritti delle donne e delle ragazze in termini di protezione e partecipazione nel conflitto e nella costruzione della pace post-conflitto. A vent’anni di distanza, l’Agenda WPS consta 10 risoluzioni, molte dichiarazioni adottate in seno al Consiglio di sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite e un’architettura politica globale che dovrebbe guidare l’operato dei governi e dei parlamenti, nazionali e locali, delle organizzazioni internazionali, delle associazioni della società civile e delle reti transnazionali di advocacy.

Tuttavia, l’attuazione dell’Agenda WPS non è stata uniforme: a periodi di silenzio e di inerzia hanno fatto seguito svariate azioni promosse a livello globale. UN Women riferisce che i difensori dei diritti umani delle donne in tutto il mondo sono vittime di attacchi e che si sta assistendo ad un incremento esponenziale dell violenza contro le donne – anche, ma non solo – nella sfera pubblica e nei media. Allo stesso tempo, sussistono timori circa l’effettiva implementazione dell’Agenda WPS nei casi di donne appartenenti a comunità emarginate, esposte a discriminazioni intersezionali. Nel luglio 2021, è stato promosso il Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact al fine di garantire un supporto finanziario adeguato per promuovere la leadership e, più in generale, il ruolo attivo delle donne. Ad esso, si affiancano numerose campagne indirizzate agli attori dell’Agenda WPS allo scopo di comprendere quali siano gli ostacoli e le barriere che ostacolano l’effettiva inclusione delle donne e delle bambine.

Il panel si propone di mettere in luce i molteplici e multidisciplinari profili di interesse e di criticità che caratterizzano l’implementazione, nazionale e locale, dell’Agenda WPS, nonchè le prassi adottate a livello nazionale e globale secondo una prospettiva di genere.

Si invitano gli studiosi e le studiose che lavorano sull’Agenda WPS ad unirsi a questo panel con casi di studio che si colleghino ai quattro pilastri dell’Agenda – partecipazione, prevenzione dei conflitti, protezione e soccorso e recupero –, così come a fornire ricerche sull’agenda dello stato di diritto e processi di giustizia di transizione sensibili al genere.
Si accettano anche contributi che si propongono di mettere in relazione l’Agenda WPS alle situazioni di conflitto in corso, come quelle in Afghanistan e in Ucraina, all’impatto dell’emergenza sanitaria legata al Covid-19 sui programmi di pace e di sicurezza, alle misure legislative adottate a livello nazionale.

Chairs: Alexandra Budabin, Costanza Nardocci

Discussants: Natalie Hudson

Europe before the UN 1325 Resolution on Women, Peace & Security
Costanza Nardocci
The paper examines and discloses the European approach on Women, Peace and Security by questioning the extent to which UN Resolution No. 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was implemented within the European continent. The analysis will depart from an investigation into whether and how the Council of Europe and the European Union committed themselves to the execution and implementation of UN Resolution No. 1325 with a specific focus on the latest EU Gender Action Plan, which appears to be more consistent with a gender inclusive approach on the peace and security agenda. The paper will zoom on the state of the art also highlighting criticisms and challenges women face on a supranational basis especially due to their poor representation in leadership positions in the field of peace and security. Eventually, the paper will test the effective realization of UN resolution No. 1325 by discussing selected constitutional systems among the European Union member States.
Is there any space left for peace? A gendered analysis of the two opposite shores of the European continent as they react to the Russian threat.
Sofia Sutera
The aim of this research is to look at the evolving perception and approach to the concept of security in the Nordic and Mediterranean regions as they face the security threat currently posed by Russia in order to understand if there is any space left for peace, considering a gendered concept of peace as in the trinomial “women, peace and security” introduced more than twenty years ago by UNSCR 1325, introducing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. In order to carry out this task, a critical feminist perspective is employed in a review, by means of critical discourse analysis (CDA), of the discourses which emerge in these quite opposite regions. The Nordic Region has been identified in terms of a specific organization, the Nordic Defence Cooperation (Nordefco) which encompasses the five Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), whilst the Mediterranean region has been identified in terms of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue which is a partnership forum between NATO and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. In fact, in an overall climate of rising authoritarianism, populism, and nationalism, the COVID-19 pandemic has represented only the most recent economic and social whiplash, whereas peace is achievable only by means of a comprehensive approach which encompasses both the aspects of a right and a duty to peace. An approach which is aware of the necessity of building a culture of peace (for which it is fundamental an education to peace) and which is aimed at reaching sustainable gendered peace. In fact, the success of the comprehensive approach of “sustaining peace”, as introduced by the “sustaining peace resolutions”, UNSCR 2282 (2016) and UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/304, leading from conflict prevention through peacemaking, peacekeeping and recovery/reconstruction, relies on the emphasis that will be put on the former. Accordingly, only a paradigm shift from the deep-rooted mentality “si vis pacem para bellum” to a new understanding that “si vis pacem, para pacem” can bring to the actual maintenance of international (gendered) peace and security.
Local Voices in Transnational Spaces: Diaspora Activists and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda
Natalie Hudson
This paper sheds light on the status of women diaspora activists in transnational advocacy working to advance the WPS Agenda. Despite calls for solidarity, even “feminist” spaces face challenges for linking the Global North and South to advance advocacy efforts, challenges that are magnified when dealing with the issue of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). We focus on the stories of women diaspora activists working on active conflicts in the Global South and the ways these activists sought to embed themselves discursively in the WPS framework. We adopt an insider-outsider perspective to study their participation and draw insights on gender-related aspects of diaspora inclusion. We argue that the constraints on including “local” voices and perspectives in WPS advocacy is certainly contributing to some of the cracks in its implementation. However, the construction of transnational solidarity by women for women’s security issues is improving the possibilities for meaningful participation of a more diverse and intersectional, if small, representation of women in WPS advocacy.
Recentralising ‘Global South’ discourses and perspectives on Women, Peace and Security: the case of Tunisia
Clara Della Valle
Among the subjects that have animated scholarship on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) in 2000, there is the question of space and location (Shepherd, 2020). Situating the WPS Agenda at the UN headquarters in New York or ‘on the ground,’ ‘locally,’ generates different political (and research) possibilities. In the last few years, an increasing number of scholars have called for “centering the local as a site of knowledge production in the WPS Agenda” (Ibid., p. 456). One significant contribution to this debate is Soumita Basu (2016)’s post-colonial analysis on the removal of voices, knowledge and interests from the ‘Global South’ in the WPS debate and practice. This article aims at recentralising ‘Global South’ discourses and perspectives on WPS, by focusing on Tunisia. The debate on the WPS Agenda has taken root in Tunisia after the 2010-11 revolution, in the context of women’s push for democratic reforms and increasing non-state political violence that led to the 2015 revision of security strategies. The 2010-2011 uprisings, and the period of political transition that followed, led to the emergence of a variegated and fluid panorama of women’s associations that, despite intersecting generational, geographical, class, religious and social divides, has contributed (and is still contributing) to a reconfiguration of gender roles and power relations within Tunisian society. At the core of female struggles (e.g. men-women equality in social, political, economic rights; violence against women etc.) there is the idea of women as “agents of change”, which privileges the concept of “participation” to those of “protection” or “prevention”. The security crisis started in 2014-2015 led, among other things, to the adoption of the first Tunisian National Action Plan (NAP) for implementing the UNSCR 1325. Despite the Resolution’s anchoring in the four pillars of “protection, participation, prevention, relief and recovery” (UNSC 2000), the global debate on WPS has been shaped by a ‘securitarian paradigm’, mostly focusing on sexual violence against women during conflicts and the notion of a “post-conflict” situation (Shepherd 2020; Pearson 2020). This has reinforced the idea of women as “victims” rather than “agents”, thereby failing in recognizing their everyday resistance as a valid exercise of political power (Gopinath & Manchanda 2019). Through doc analysis and interviews to different stakeholders on the ground, this article aims at investigating the relationship between international agenda and local change, trying to understand whether the WPS Agenda has been used to motivate and inform the strategies of Tunisian female leaders, women’s groups and women-led movements for change, especially after 2011. On the one hand, the article analyses to what extent the WPS debate and practice in Tunisia is representative of local women’s needs, perspectives and expectations, trying to unpack the issue of which women and what agenda are advanced by the 2018 NAP. On the other, it examines the main achievements and challenges in terms of NAP’s implementation, trying to understand whether this Plan is reframing the concept of security in Tunisia, moving towards a “human security” paradigm that better integrates the dimension of “participation”.

Panel 11.7 Gender and representation

The political (under-)representation of women is currently the subject of a wide range of studies at the international level focusing on its extent, causes, and effects. On the one hand, scholars focus on the numeric aspects of women's representation at the various level of government (national, sub-national, and supra-national) and identify the obstacles (political, institutional, socio-economic, cultural) that hinder gender equality in political representation or investigate whether attempts to remove those obstacles (gender quotas, women committees) are effective. On the other hand, international literature focuses on the effects of women's representation, investigating whether and to what extent an increase of women in parliaments or in executive roles in the government has an impact in the content or the direction of legislation.
These two different dimensions of women's representation, commonly referred to as descriptive and substantive representation - together with a third dimension, namely, symbolic representation, which focuses of the effects of an increased representation on the gender roles that are culturally assigned to women in a society - are the object of this panel.
The panel welcomes contributions to all aspects of women's political representation at the different levels of government. Papers may be theoretical or empirical, and new methodological approaches to study gender representation are especially welcome. Works may consist in single-case studies or comparative analyses. Papers discussing the Italian case are particularly encouraged.

Chairs: Pamela Pansardi, Licia Claudia Papavero

Discussants: Francesco Zucchini

Dentro i meccanismi della doppia preferenza: alleanze elettorali, rapporti di forza, effetti sulla rappresentanza politica femminile a Napoli e in Campania (2010-2021)
Pietro Sabatino, Mariantonella Gliatta , Lucio Palazzo
La Regione Campania si pone come capofila nell’affermazione del sistema delle “quote” nella composizione delle liste a livello locale. Risale, infatti, già al 2009 la legge regionale sulla c.d. preferenza di genere che offre all’elettore la possibilita? di esprimere una doppia preferenza, la seconda delle quali esclusivamente per candidate di sesso femminile, pena l’annullamento (l.r. n. 4 del 27 marzo 2009). La legge campana inaugurò un nuovo corso, tanto legislativo quanto giurisprudenziale. In seguito all’approvazione della legge campana, infatti, si è aperta una significativa stagione di adeguamento costituzionale della legislazione regionale al principio costituzionale di parità di genere di cui all’art. 51 Cost., mostrando – come spesso accaduto nella storia costituzionale italiana – un approccio bottom to up proprio dell’innovazione istituzionale. Gli interventi di adeguamento della disciplina regionale si registrano soprattutto all’indomani dell’entrata in vigore della legge n. 20 del 2016. La legge n. 20, modifica l’art. 4, comma 1, lettera c-bis, della legge n. 165 del 2004, introducendo tra i principi fondamentali l’adozione di misure cogenti volte a promuovere le pari opportunità tra i sessi nell’accesso alle cariche elettive. I principi in essa contenuti tengono conto della diversità dei sistemi elettorali prescelti nei singoli territori per l’elezione dei Consigli regionali. In particolare, ove la legge regionale preveda l’espressione di preferenze, la legge n. 20 prevede che devono essere rispettati due meccanismi per favorire la parità di genere: che in ciascuna lista il numero dei candidati di uno stesso sesso non debba essere superiore al 60 per cento del totale dei candidati stessi; che debba essere assicurata la c.d. “doppia preferenza di genere”. In prevalenza, i legislatori regionali hanno optato per la riserva di quote di genere (le c.d. “quote di lista”) , disponendo in altri casi il rispetto del principio della presenza in numero uguale di candidati di sesso diverso , oppure il meccanismo dell’alternanza di genere nella composizione della lista . Accanto alle quote di lista numerose legislazioni regionali hanno previsto il meccanismo della doppia preferenza di genere, sul modello della legge campana: Toscana, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Lazio, Lombardia, Molise, Marche, Abruzzo, Veneto, Basilicata e di recente dalla Liguria. Il "salto in avanti" del 2009 avviene in un territorio storicamente più “ostile”, almeno dal punto di vista meramente quantitativo, alla crescita della rappresentanza femminile nelle assemblee elettive degli enti locali: la Campania condivide con il resto del Mezzogiorno una presenza di donne nella politica locale sistematicamente più bassa della media nazionale, almeno fino agli interventi legislativi che rendono possibile la doppia preferenza, sia per il consiglio regionale che per quelli comunali. L’introduzione combinata della doppia preferenza e di quote minime nella formazione delle liste ha prodotto effetti innegabili nelle assemblee elettive in Campania, riducendo un gap territoriale che si sovrapponeva a quello di genere. Sembrano, al contrario, molto meno evidenti gli effetti “indiretti” sulla rappresentanza politica locale, cioè su quei ruoli (in particolare quello di sindaco) dove non agisce in via diretta il meccanismo della discriminazione positiva. Oltre il vincolo delle quote continuano ad agire tendenze che limitano la rappresentanza femminile nella politica locale a ruoli marginali, “periferici”, questo sia nella composizione delle liste sia nel comportamento di voto. Il contributo si propone di provare a studiare questi equilibri “dentro” la competizione elettorale, prendendo come caso studio la più grande città del Mezzogiorno e capoluogo regionale. L’obiettivo del contributo è quello di provare a stimare la presenza/assenza di alleanze tra candidati maschi/femmine nella costruzione del voto di preferenza, nell’individuare i rapporti di forza all’interno di queste alleanze, nell’esplorare le possibili differenze tra forze politiche e tra condizioni di svantaggio dei territori. In questa sede si farà prevalentemente ricorso ad un’analisi statistica dei risultati elettorali (comunali e regionali) nelle tornate post-riforma e nell’ultima elezione precedente alla riforma (Regionali 2005 e Comunali 2011) nel territorio del Comune di Napoli.
La Rappresentanza Politica, una questione di stile. Profili, strategie e modalità d’azione
Francesca Montemagno
In questi anni il fenomeno dell’astensionismo è in aumento, si assiste ad un generale deallinaemento di milioni di elettori disponibili a orientare il proprio voto in maniera differente e specie verso i partiti di protesta. Tutto questo rende manifesta una crepa nel sistema della rappresentanza politica, conseguenza di una crisi più profonda del suo funzionamento. In un momento come questo appare sempre più interessante studiare il ruolo dei singoli parlamentari nel circuito della rappresentanza. Come è cambiato il loro ruolo? Quali sono i fattori che lo influenzano? Come funziona la rappresentanza politica nell’epoca dei partiti fragili e dei leader preponderanti? Oggi il crollo della fiducia nelle istituzioni politiche e l’indebolimento del ruolo del partito come strumento di intermediazione tra gli elettori e gli eletti sembra stimolare sempre più queste riflessioni. Gli studi sul fenomeno della rappresentanza individuale hanno finora orientato le proprie analisi sulla classe politica dei Parlamenti Nazionali. Il nostro interesse, diversamente, si rivolge in particolare ai Consiglieri Regionali italiani. Lo strumento di rilevazione è un questionario strutturato che adopera alcuni set di domande già presenti nell’ambito dell’Indagine Comparative Candidates Survey (CCS). Per questo studio è stata intervistata la metà dei componenti del Consiglio di otto Regioni d’Italia, per un totale di 185 interviste. Per analizzare questo fenomeno si è scelto di osservare il rapporto tra il partito e l’eletto e tra quest’ultimo e gli elettori nell'azione politica, nell'attività parlamentare e nella gestione delle campagne elettorali. Attraverso questo studio sono stati colti alcuni tratti di questa trasformazione, ma soprattutto si è evidenziata la presenza di differenti logiche di rappresentanza in virtù delle carriere politiche, dell’area politica di appartenenza, del sistema elettorale, dei meccanismi di selezione delle candidature, delle caratteristiche dell’istituzione rappresentativa e non ultime delle caratteristiche personali del candidato e dell’eletto. Su quest'ultima variabile ci soffermeremo in modo particolare evidenziando nello specifico le differenze di genere. Si è inoltre valutato il focus rappresentativo dei politici della nostra selezione interpretando le differenze tra gli stili adottati dai Consiglieri regionali e quelli scelti dai Deputati della Camera intervistati nell’ambito dell’indagine CCS, rispetto ai quali si è condotta un analisi di confronto ragionata. Dai risultati del nostro lavoro è emerso da un lato un orientamento che oscilla tra il delegato e il politico trustee, più prossimo al profilo dei Consiglieri regionali della nostra selezione; dall’altro il ruolo del politico partisan più rispondente al Deputato della Camera e alle donne rispetto agli uomini. Questi orientamenti si legano in un caso ad una gestione indipendente delle attività di comunicazione, ad un organizzazione autonoma delle attività di campagna elettorale o istituzionali, e a scelte di voto più orientate alle opinioni proprie o degli elettori; nell’altro, all’opposto, ad un atteggiamento dipendente dal partito, ad una gestione centralizzata delle attività politiche e di campagna, ma anche ad una diversa concezione politica più in linea alle scelte di partito. Keywords: Consigli Regionali, rappresentanza politica individuale, ruoli rappresentativi, leggi elettorali, selezione delle candidature.
Do Women MEP’s Substantively Represent Women? A Study of the European Parliament
Niharika Rustagi, Lu Xi, Hang Muyao
Do women legislators represent women’s interests? The extant literature has examined this question broadly in the American context but the legislation surrounding women’s interests remains under-investigated in case of the European Parliament, especially from the lens of multilevel systems. This study explores the different conditions under which female legislators are more likely to represent women’s interests than male legislators. The European Parliament (EP) has played a vital role in the past in promoting gender equality in the European Union. EP serves as a useful site to study women’s participation in elected office and representation of women’s interests. Compared to other Parliamentary settings, more women tend to be elected to the EP than to national parliaments, although the proportion of women elected in each member nation varies considerably. Scholars have also highlighted that the style of politics in the EP may be more friendly toward women than other political bodies, as decision making tends to be less confrontational, and, as a relatively new institution, male hegemony is less entrenched than in national parliaments. Further, it is argued that the EU may be an important arena for advancing women’s rights in Europe along with offering an interesting platform to study given its gender equality mandate and overall approach towards improving gender equality. The basic hypothesis guiding this research is that women in European Parliament substantively represent women. It must be qualified that the impact of women in politics is limited; they do make a difference but not a very drastic one. In this sense, more than men, women try to shape the legislative agenda and the legislative discourse to promote women’s issues; their activity in favour of women’s concerns, however, remains quite limited from a numerical point of view. Acknowledging the role of electoral cycles is paramount. It contributes to an in-depth understanding of how women legislators behave in multilevel settings, specifically with several principals an MEP is accountable towards. As part of our study, we find that electoral cycles of the member nations play an important role in determining women MEPs (Member of European Parliament) support for gender legislation. Empirically, the effect of different competing principals is analysed using roll call votes from the seventh, eighth and ninth European Parliament. All the different hypotheses are tested using vote level ordered logit models. We find women legislators to be more supportive of gender-related legislation compared to their male counterparts even after controlling for European political groups, nationality, and the national party. Our findings indicate a two-way relationship between national electoral cycles and support for women’s interests in European Parliament. Women legislators belonging to national parties with lesser vote shares perform more aggressively than female members from parties with greater domestic vote shares. As for the effect on the vote share in future elections, we find that neither the effect of male nor female legislators voting in favour of women’s interests in the European Parliament leads to a greater vote share in domestic elections.
Highly educated and diligently cohesive? An analysis of Italian women MPs in the current legislature
Simona Guerra
The 2018 Italian general election brought to the Parliament a record number of women MPs, 225 out of 630 (35.71%) deputies, with the Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle: M5S) electing the youngest (25-year-old). In a country, where women have held only 78 ministerial positions out of more 1,500 in 64 governments (Italian Senate, 2018), confirming that politics looks as a man’s world (Jalalzai and Krook, 2010), this analysis examines who these women are and what positions they cover in the current legislature. Studies show that political parties largely remain as gatekeepers (Pansardi, 2016), affecting gender-biased selection at committee appointments (Pansardi and Vercesi, 2017). Yet, women represent a more cohesive group when elected (Papavero and Zucchini, 2012) and remain closer to the centre of the party. As that could show their perfect integration, but also their political weakness within the party, this study examines the data from the Italian Ministry of Home Affairs, the deputies’ voting behaviour in the parliaments, and the results of an elite-survey. After outlining who these MPs are and what they do, the analysis seeks to address whether the empirical evidence can sustain that being a woman is doing politics differently or simply observe more cohesion (Cowley and Child, 2003).

Round table

Panel 11.8 Roundtable: Gender, Italian Political Science and the State of the Profession

The Italian Political Science Annual Conference is hosting this year, for the second time (the first one in 2015), a fully-fledged section on gender and politics. In particular, this year, the "Gender and politics" Section will include panels covering the significant strands of the discipline and a variety of issues going from women's representation and leadership to LGBT+ politics. Both times, however, the section has been included as a "jolly", namely, a section that is not fully institutionalized – at least not yet – and which presence is not ensured for future conferences. This fact constitutes just another face of the mild interest – or, to put it differently, of the delay – of Italian political science in developing and institutionalizing the subfield of gender and politics. Against this bedrock, this roundtable aims to propose a collective reflection on the state of the art of the gender "turn" in Italian political science, broadly construed, to include both questions related to the emergence of gender and politics as a subfield of political science and to the analysis of the role of gender in the profession. At a time of a relative institutionalization of these studies in the Italian university, what are the available data allowing us an informed discussion? The roundtable intends to interrogate the gender differences and inequalities that still structure the profession today, inserting them into Italy's broader panorama of gender studies.

Chair: Pamela Pansardi

Anna Bosco, C'è un gender gap nelle pubblicazioni scientifiche? L'Italia in prospettiva comparata

Marco Cellini, Il gender gap nella scienza politica: un'analisi delle pubblicazioni scientifiche e delle carriere professionali nella scienza politica italiana

Massimo Prearo, Il primo rapporto sugli studi di genere in Italia: i dati di una realtà strutturata ma non istituzionalizzata

Rossella Ciccia, Gli studi di genere nelle scienze politiche Europee: un progetto incompiuto

Chairs: Pamela Pansardi, Massimo Prearo


Panel 11.9 Gender and Party Politics (I)

Political parties are generally considered as the real gatekeepers to women’s representation. Through political recruitment, parties act as filters for the access to political offices and might work in ways as to deliberately hinder or promote women’s chances to get elected or to gain leadership positions. However, about 30 years after the publication of Lovenduski and Norris’s book on Gender and Party Politics (1993), the wider literature on political parties has rarely treated the gender dimension as a constitutive element of research, even though one of the most important evolution of politics in the last thirty years has been the “feminisation of politics” (i.e., women direct involvement in politics and the rising salience of women’s policy concerns). The literature agrees in describing political parties as gendered institutions, where formal and informal mechanisms and practices works to reproduce the current distribution of power, often to the disadvantage of female politicians.
This panel aims at gathering scholars interested in the study of gender and political parties both from an empirical, methodological, or theoretical perspective. It welcomes both comparative studies and single cases studies, working from quantitative or qualitative perspectives.
We invite papers addressing - but not limited to - the following questions:
1. Which strategies do party enact to hinder (or promote) gender equality?
2. Do party ideology still matters in promoting gender balance in politics?
3. Is intra-party democracy conducive to gender equality?
4. Do populist parties present different attitudes towards gender equality than traditional parties?
5. Are far right parties intrinsically more suitable to female leadership?
6. Do (and how) parties sponsor gender substantive representation?
7. Do parties leaded by women promote different policies and different policy styles?

Chairs: Marta Regalia

Discussants: Anna Gwiazda

Women leaders in far right parties: the case of Giorgia Meloni
Alice Cavalieri, Elisabetta De Giorgi, Francesca Feo
As the recent election of Roberta Metsola as the new president of the European Parliament highlighted, except for a few Scandinavian or Baltic socialist prime ministers, the vast majority of European women who have or have had real power in Europe come from the right wing. When looking at the opposition, the figure does not differ so much: Marine Le Pen, Giorgia Meloni, Frauke Petry and Alice Weidel are, in fact, today the face of the European far right. Among the latter ones, the Italian Giorgia Meloni, founder and leader of the far right party Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia), is at the moment a very popular politician and certainly represents an interesting case study among the women opposition leaders. Under the motto of ‘God, Homeland and Family’ (Dio, Patria e Famiglia) Giorgia Meloni multiplied her party seats in parliament from 9 to 50 from 2013 to 2018 and, more recently, brought it to a huge increase in the voting intentions. Brothers of Italy, which since its entry into parliament has always seated in the opposition benches, today would get 20% of votes – a result never achieved by a party of the so-called Italian social right. Starting from a comparative outlook of far right women leaders, the purpose of the present work is to explore first the path that brought Giorgia Meloni to office and then her performance once holding that post; finally we aim at understanding if and how much the fact of being a woman opposition leader is reflected in her parliamentary activity. In order to do that, we will draw on parliamentary data, notably all the parliamentary speeches given by Giorgia Meloni in the last two legislatures (from 2013 to date) and all the parliamentary questions presented by her parliamentary party group and (co)signed by herself, in the same period.
Leading the Opposition: Gender, Rhetoric, and Performance in the European Parliament
Pamela Pansardi, Henriette Mueller
The European Parliament (EP) is a special case of a legislative. Rather than being internally divided between governing and opposition parties, it often acts collectively as an opposition to the EU core institutions. It negotiates with the Council on legislative acts; lacking a right of initiative, it attempts to exercise influence on the Commission’s agenda. Lengthy discussions in the EP following the presentation of the Commission’s Work Programme or the Annual State of the Union Address illustrate this. Since the introduction of direct elections to the EP in 1979, nine women have led or co-led party groups in the EP. Among these groups, the Greens-European Free Alliance has practiced co-leadership with always a man and a woman heading the group. This has resulted in a greater variety of group leaders in regard to women’s representation, but also in other aspects such as gender, rhetoric, and performance. This paper will study women’s opposition leadership in the EP by first examining their positional leadership, i.e. ascendance to becoming party group leaders, thereby identifying career trajectories and pathways across different party groups. Furthermore, the paper analyzes behavioral leadership of the European Greens, by analyzing the rhetoric and performance of and possible differences between women group leaders versus men. The empirical analysis will be based on the party group leaders’ speeches given in response to the EC Presidents' presentation of the Commission’s Work Programme and the State of the Union Address (2010-2020).
The female bulwark to class voting decline
Davide Angelucci, Davide Vittori, Luca Carrieri
Research on class voting has widely documented the decline of the connection between the working class and the parties that historically represented it in Western Europe, the so-called class-bloc parties. This trend is often explained as the result of their changing policy positions. As class-bloc parties have emphasized more progressive stances on the cultural dimension of politics (e.g. civil rights and immigration), while moving toward neoliberal positions on the economy, they have displaced their male-dominated class constituency. In particular, class-bloc positions have come at odds with the economically progressive and culturally conservative posture of the white working-class male constituency. This interpretation, while convincing in many respects, has completely neglected the potential counter-effect produced by the changing gender composition of the working class. As the proportion of women employed in (mostly unskilled) blue-collar activities has increased over time, the configuration of value predispositions and priorities within the working class might have changed as well. The existing literature suggests that women are more likely than men to prioritise issues related to the cultural dimension of politics, with particular attention to equality and minority rights. In this paper we explore this argument showing that the increasing female composition of the working class might have hampered the decline of class voting. Furthermore, we hypothesise that this could have happened by means of the alignment of females’ value priorities and the policy supply provided by class-bloc parties. We empirically test these hypotheses relying on a combination of aggregate data (EUROSTAT) and longitudinal survey data (1989-2014) of the European Election Studies.

Panel 11.9 Gender and Party Politics (II)

Political parties are generally considered as the real gatekeepers to women’s representation. Through political recruitment, parties act as filters for the access to political offices and might work in ways as to deliberately hinder or promote women’s chances to get elected or to gain leadership positions. However, about 30 years after the publication of Lovenduski and Norris’s book on Gender and Party Politics (1993), the wider literature on political parties has rarely treated the gender dimension as a constitutive element of research, even though one of the most important evolution of politics in the last thirty years has been the “feminisation of politics” (i.e., women direct involvement in politics and the rising salience of women’s policy concerns). The literature agrees in describing political parties as gendered institutions, where formal and informal mechanisms and practices works to reproduce the current distribution of power, often to the disadvantage of female politicians.
This panel aims at gathering scholars interested in the study of gender and political parties both from an empirical, methodological, or theoretical perspective. It welcomes both comparative studies and single cases studies, working from quantitative or qualitative perspectives.
We invite papers addressing - but not limited to - the following questions:
1. Which strategies do party enact to hinder (or promote) gender equality?
2. Do party ideology still matters in promoting gender balance in politics?
3. Is intra-party democracy conducive to gender equality?
4. Do populist parties present different attitudes towards gender equality than traditional parties?
5. Are far right parties intrinsically more suitable to female leadership?
6. Do (and how) parties sponsor gender substantive representation?
7. Do parties leaded by women promote different policies and different policy styles?

Chairs: Marta Regalia

Discussants: Alberta Giorgi

Lega and Fratelli d’Italia framing anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ issues: comparing ideological changes within Italian Radical Right Parties through social discourses analysis
Massimo Prearo, Alessio Scopelliti
The Radical Right Parties (RRP) literature and the literature in gender politics have highlighted how recent years have witnessed an appropriation by RRPs of gender and LGBTIQ equality issues. Gender and LGBTIQ issues rapidly become dimensions of the RRPs’ political agenda. These dynamics aim to contest and oppose egalitarian and anti-discrimination policies (a challenging appropriation) and to resignify the contents of such policies to transform their objectives (a propositional appropriation). Most of the existent research has focused on this dynamic of appropriation, highlighting its challenging aspect. The theoretical frame that has often been used is the instrumentalization of gender and LGBTIQ issues by RRPs, an appropriation that is opportunistic or functional to the political moment. However, the strategic alliance that seems to have been installed – especially in Italy – between RRPs, Lega and Fratelli d’Italia, and new Catholic movements seems to suggest an ideological transformation that is anything but contingent. Since at least 2013, such movements have placed the “anti-gender” cause in the public debate as a mobilization project that goes beyond the traditional frontiers of Catholic movements. Initially centered around pro-life issues, they focused on egalitarian and anti-discrimination policies. In particular, gender education, the fight against homophobia and transphobia, and the recognition of same-sex couples and families – i.e., the discourse against “gender theory,” ‘gender ideology,” or “gender”. From the first mobilizations in the spring and summer of 2013 against the “Scalfarotto” Bill against homotransphobic hate crimes to the scuttling of the “Zan” Bill on the same issues in October 2022, a sort of political continuum seems to exist between RRPs and new Catholic movements around this common front of struggle. We seek to investigate how Italian radical right parties frame the fight against gender equality. Does the support for anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ fight constitute a merely opportunistic and instrumental political strategy for the Italian RRP? Or does it represent a coherent declination of the RRP’s ideological program? To explore these research questions, we analyze the public discourse of these parties from a comparative perspective. We will compare Lega and Fratelli d’Italia’s social network statements and posts to evaluate the degree of ideological integration of the anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ discourses in the RRP ideological architecture. We will test the ideological integration of anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ discourses within three ideological pillars of RRP: nativism, populism, and religion. This will allow us to study, on the one hand, the recent ideological transformations of RRP parties, which in recent years, have achieved a critical position in the Italian right-wing area. On the other hand, this data set will lead us to formulate new hypotheses about the nature of anti-gender and anti-LGBTIQ discourses and mobilizations, and their ideological roots.
The gender gap in the parties' communication strategies for the 2019 European elections: Does it exist or not?
Melissa Stolfi, Giovanni Brancato
The 2019 European Elections Campaign was characterised not only by the production of traditional election materials, such as posters and tv commercials, but also by the creation of political digital content, such as web-cards and video social, for the diffusion on the official social network accounts of political parties and candidates (Daniel et al., 2019; Daniel & Obholzer, 2019). According to data collected by Eurobarometer (European Commission, 2019) about the EU elections, recent studies have highlighted the lack of attention paid by the electoral debate to issues such as labour, immigration, and security, which could be considered particularly interested to the public opinion (Ambrosini, 2013; Brancato & Stolfi, 2019). Whereas, on the opposite, there has been an increase in the presence of topics such as environment and social issues, including those concerning the role of women, gender inequalities and civil rights (Novelli & Johansson, 2019). Based on data collected during the 2019 European Parliament Elections by the European Elections Monitoring Center (EEMC), a research center on European political communication and election campaign (, this study aims to analyse which are the main topics covered during the election campaign by the 193 political parties monitored on Facebook (at least 7 accounts for each Country) in the four weeks before the vote. Through the analysis of the electoral materials produced by these political parties and published on their official Facebook accounts, we will be able to identify similarities and differences in the strategies of the political parties of the 28 EU member states, taking also into account their different affiliations to the EU parliamentary groups. A further focus of the study is to analyze any correlations between the presence specific policies in the electoral strategies realized by political parties led by women compared to those led by men. References: Ambrosini, M. (2013). Immigration in Italy: Between Economic Acceptance and Political Reaction. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 14(1), 175-194. Brancato, G., & Stolfi, M. (2019). Una issue al servizio dei talk show: la rappresentazione del fenomeno migratorio nei format televisivi d’approfondimento in Italia. Mondi Migranti, 2, 211-228. Daniel, W.T, Obholzer, L., & Hurka, S. (2019). Static and dynamic incentives for Twitter usage in the European Parliament. Party Politics, 25(6), 771–781. Daniel, W.T, & Obholzer, L. (2020). Reaching out to the voter? Campaigning on Twitter during the 2019 European elections. Research and Politics, April-June, 1–8. European Commission (2019). Closer to the Citizens, Closer to the Ballot. Standard Eurobarometer 91 - Spring 2019: Novelli, E., & Johansson, B. (2019). 2019 European elections campaign. Images, topics, media in the 28 Member States. European Union - Public Opinion Monitoring Unit.
Gender politics in the Italian digital arena
Fedra Negri, Silvia Decadri
Political parties are often described as gendered institutions where power is distributed to women’s detriment. We test this claim by shifting attention from the real to the digital political arena, to explore whether the net is a friendlier environment for female politicians or if it reproduces the same biases and stereotypes they encounter in the real world. Relying on a novel dataset on Italian members of parliament and party leaders’ tweets from January 2020 to February 2022, we will use network analysis to assess the shape of inter- and intra-party networks female politicians are embedded in and the relative position they occupy there. Moreover, we will use automated text analysis to compare male and female politicians’ rhetoric style as well as their issue-attention across a variety of politically relevant topics. This comprehensive and systematic overview will allow us to take a glance at the intensity of gender biases and stereotypes in the Italian digital political arena.

Panel 11.11 Gender and leadership. Researching the contexts and impacts of inclusive leadership

The (very) slow but steady increase of women in leadership positions in politics across different levels of governance makes it important to critically engage with the notion of leadership, the conditions that makes it possible – from cultural norms and values to institutional features – and the effects of more inclusive leadership on the political field – from policy-making to the transformation of political cultures.

The panel seeks papers engaging with the topic of leadership and the exercise of leadership in politics and related field of social action from a gender perspective. Papers topics can include, but are not limited to:

- Innovative approaches to the conceptualization of leadership and different types of leadership
- the effects of inclusive leadership on policies and the policy-making process
- the factors and processes leading to more inclusive and gender-balanced leadership
- the insiders’ or public’s perceptions of masculinity and femininity in different leadership contexts
- the performance of women leaders in male-dominated fields
- strategies and plans of actions – including policy initiatives – for transforming leadership cultures in the political and adjacent fields.

The panel aims at moving forward a research agenda on leadership from a gender perspective, thus contributing to the debate on the desirability of more inclusive leadership in decision-making with empirical evidence and theoretical innovation. Moreover, it also wants to facilitate the encounter and exchange of ideas between academics and practitioners advocating for a more inclusive leadership in politics and related field, to provide hand-on knowledge to further propagate good practices.
The panel welcomes both theoretical contributions and empirical ones using different methods and data. It will ensure the participation of participants at different career stages, of different backgrounds and regions.

Chairs: Francesca Feo, Costanza Hermanin

Discussants: Donatella Campus

How Shared Leadership is Organized: A Comparative Analysis of Two Women’s Movements against Violence in Mexico
Laura Gutierrez Zarate
In the past few years, shared leadership structures have emerged where responsibilities are distributed in an autonomous and flexible way, shifting the study of leadership to analyze these new dynamics. Literature has recognized the role of leaders as crucial to realizing the movement's goals, especially in women’s movements which promote shared leadership. However, scholars have dedicated little attention to analyzing the dynamics of shared leadership. Building on the concept of 'leadership capital' that claims that leaders possess skills and knowledge that impacts their decisions, I propose to include a new concept called 'leadership organization' to understand which conditions foster collaboration among the leadership. I argue that leadership organization provides conditions for the elements of leadership capital – cultural, social, and symbolic – to develop and that, in turn, impacts the movement's ability to realize its goals. Through a systematic comparative study set in 2017-2021, I utilize in-depth interviews to compare two women's movements from Mexico: the Olimpia and the Anti-femicide movements. The findings suggest that leadership organization provided functional conditions that promoted collaboration and helped develop stronger elements of leadership capital, which impacted the leaders' ability to achieve the movement’s goals. This paper thus advances social movement research by proposing a framework to study shared leadership in women’s movements.
Political Rhetoric and Prejudice. Female Politicians in Greece and Cyprus
Dora Papadopoulou
Recent advances by women have brought a number of old but important questions to the surface, challenging the framework of speech communication and gender studies. Nevertheless, nothing is more powerful than unspoken agreements which are fundaments in our social and political life. Emphasizing the fact that language expresses a certain power, the political speech has become an arena where the exercise of power underestimates in many cases the performance of female politicians. In fact, women in the public sphere are presented as ineffective, let alone in leadership positions. Through their political speech women express a reality shaped by the oppressors, while at the same time the women themselves imitate specific dynamics communicating a message of group-based inferiority. Thus, even women’s political speeches strengthen their invisibility. Symbols have been shaped to establish a public perception about the incompetence of women’s political participation. In the political realm, words, images and nonverbal communication can be used against them creating even an understanding of force. Therefore, those can be used as mechanisms of exclusion. Although all these perspectives share some common ground, important differences exist. Yet, the struggle for women in politics continues. The aim of this article is to conceptualize the aforementioned elements. Using discourse analysis, I intend to approach speeches of women in politics using as case study the countries of Greece and Cyprus. Through the analysis of case studies in both countries, the paper shows how debates about the formation of language undermine women’s participation building a more inclusive public sphere. This is followed by a discussion of the rhetorical strategies used by feminist rhetors to gain access to traditional modes of political power.
The State of Women’s Leadership in EU Institutions
Henriette Mueller, Ingeborg Tömmel
Despite a sharp increase in women leaders from politicians to managers and experts at the top of the institutions of the European Union, including Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission and Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, women’s representation across the different levels of hierarchy in and across EU institutions is still highly unequally distributed, lagging behind self-imposed aspirations and regulations. Furthermore, scholarship on women leaders, the pathways and conditions under which they obtain EU leadership positions has remained remarkably scarce. In response to this research lacuna, this paper provides an overview of women’s positional leadership across the major EU institutions. In particular, it will analyze the past and present trends of women’s ascendance to leadership in EU institutions, the specific hurdles and challenges as well as opportunities that women encounter on their pathways to power across the different EU institutions, as well as to what extent, and why, unequal representation continues to exist across EU institutions. To answer these questions, the paper first provides an analytical framework for the comparative study of women’s representation in leadership positions in EU institutions. In a second step, it compares women’s representation in top-level leadership positions whether at the political, administrative or expert levels of EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission, European Council, European External Action Service, European Central Bank, and Court of Justice of the European Union). The empirical analysis is based on a novel dataset on the representation of women in leadership positions across EU institutions between 1979-2022 (N=213).

Panel 11.12 Gender policies and politics in the post-pandemic recovery in the EU

The Covid-19 crisis has contributed to widening gender gaps multidimensionally. In parallel, policies in the immediate response to the health crisis as well as for the recovery can contribute to mitigating or, conversely, further worsening the toll of the pandemic for women. The EU Member States deployed highly heterogeneous response models differing in their gendered implications. A key example early into the crisis concerns the degree of reliance on policies such as school closures – far from solely varying across the severity of outbreaks.
In this context, the gendered impact of the pandemic has received extensive attention and longstanding barriers to equality such as access to childcare have gained renewed centrality within the debate. At the same time, the heterogeneous gendered implications of policy responses play a fundamental role in shaping the implications of the pandemic for equality. Additionally, in the Union the common recovery effort under Next Generation EU – mobilizing substantial resources to fuel the post-pandemic reconstruction – is central for reforms and investments in the aftermath of the pandemic, raising the question of its potentially heterogeneous success in gender mainstreaming. From such a perspective, the pandemic crisis challenges progress towards gender equality while at the same time offering extensive opportunities for advocacy, investments and reforms toward gender mainstreaming in the recovery.
The panel aims to address multidimensionally the questions of gender policies and politics in the response to the pandemic and recovery, welcoming papers on the gendered implications of national or EU pandemic responses and recovery measures, both at EU, single country and comparative level. Relevant questions include assessing success and failure in gender mainstreaming and the factors that facilitate or hinder the promotion of gender equality structurally or within the policy-making process. Additionally, it is of interest to consider the mobilization of women’s interest groups, their advocacy and their contribution to shaping the pandemic response and recovery. Finally, the scope includes policies addressing equality as well as the gendered implications of pandemic responses more broadly such as in the case of school closures, work from home arrangements and leave policies.

Chairs: Matilde Ceron, Alessia Donà

Discussants: Alessia Donà

Gender mainstreaming in the post-pandemic reconstruction in the EU: a comparative assessment of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans
Matilde Ceron, Antonella Zarra
Covid-19 has disproportionally affected women, leading to the backsliding of progress toward gender parity. Against the backdrop of a long time commitment to gender mainstreaming in EU policy-making, the commonly financed pandemic reconstruction effort included such a mandate under the auspices of Next Generation EU. At the same time, the domestic design of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans allows for a comparative assessment of the effective saliency of gender parity across the Member States. We exploit the well-defined case of the official documents delineating at the domestic level the National Recovery and Resilience Plans to investigate cross-country heterogeneities. Specifically, we test whether the usual north-south equality divide is confirmed in the case of the investment and reform strategies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We employ a mixed-method approach which complements assessment through text analysis on the corpus of 25 available national plans with qualitative analysis of four case studies to confirm and deepen the quantitative findings. The frequency, dictionary analysis and Structural Topic Modelling confirm limited saliency of gender parity within national recovery investment and reform strategies. Substantial geographical differences emerge. Heterogeneities do not, however, fully align along the north-south fault line. Conversely, pre-pandemic performance in terms of equality - and specifically political representation - is a key cleavage in the prioritisation of gender mainstreaming. Findings offer a warning of limited mitigation of the equality price of the pandemic through the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, especially among the Member States displaying greater gender gaps, to begin with. The contribution of the analysis is twofold. On the empirical level, it evidences the heterogeneous success of the gender mainstreaming mandate of Next Generation EU across the Member States. More broadly, results support the centrality of substantive representation in light of the better performance of those countries which entered the pandemic with more limited gender gaps in the political arena.
Il sistema antiviolenza italiano tra Pandemia e Ripartenze. Il caso della Regione Campania
Rosa Sorrentino
La presente ricerca intende ricostruire le risposte di carattere politico-economico attivate in Italia a favore dei Centri antiviolenza (CAV) e delle Case per donne maltrattate (CADM) a partire dallo scoppio della Pandemia. Tale indirizzo viene perseguito attenzionando sia la dimensione nazionale che quella locale, rappresentata dal caso-studio della Regione Campania. Attori di rinnovato spessore nel sistema di welfare, CAV e CADM operano in maniera integrata con la rete dei servizi socio-sanitari e assistenziali territoriali al fine di contrastare la problematica strutturale della violenza sulle donne (Legge 15 ottobre 2013, n.119). Essi attualmente costituiscono una risorsa chiave per il sistematico contrasto della violenza sulle donne (VAW), emblematico strumento di riproduzione delle diseguaglianze di potere tra donna e uomo e ostacolo alla persecuzione di una reale parità tra i generi, in un’ottica di continuità tra dominazione maschile, sfruttamento femminile e violenza (Romito, 2000; Lombardi, 2016; Peroni, 2022). La Convenzione del Consiglio d’Europa sulla prevenzione e lotta alla violenza contro le donne e alla violenza domestica (Convenzione di Istanbul) definisce, infatti, la violenza sulle donne come una violazione dei diritti umani e una forma di discriminazione che penalizza le donne in quanto donne, o che comunque colpisce le donne in maniera sproporzionata (art. 3d). I Centri antiviolenza e le Case rifugio nascono in Italia a partire dagli anni ’70 come attività di natura volontaria svolte da donne a favore delle donne e basate sulla relazione tra donne, l’approccio di genere, la centralità dei bisogni e l’empowerment femminile (Demurtas, 2020), per poi istituzionalizzare la propria identità in forme associative rientranti a pieno titolo in quello che oggi viene definito “Terzo Settore” (associazioni, cooperative, organizzazioni di volontariato, etc.). Il riconoscimento legale della funzione sociale da essi rivestita viene, tuttavia, formalizzato e regolamentato solo con l’Intesa Sato-Regioni del 27 novembre 2014. In Italia, infatti, più dell’87% dei CAV sono gestiti da enti privati (Istat, 2020), i cui obiettivi sono periodicamente fissati dai Piani strategici nazionali e le risorse ripartite a livello territoriale attraverso appositi bandi pubblici. Alla luce delle misure di contenimento pandemico e dell’impatto di queste ultime sul sistema economico, sociale e politico nazionale, a partire dallo scoppio della Pandemia da Covid-19 il ruolo dei CAV è divenuto ancora più centrale. Si è, infatti, assistito ad un generale e più intenso logoramento delle condizioni di vita femminili, cui ha fatto seguito una maggiore recrudescenza della violenza maschile sulle donne, aggravata da fattori di rischio quali la convivenza forzata, l’aumentata possibilità di controllo e la difficoltà di accesso ai servizi socio-assistenziali (Istat, 2020; Fraser, 2020; Peroni, 2022). In tale contesto, le principali necessità sono divenute quella di garantire un supporto costante anche “a distanza” e di sviluppare risposte innovative di intervento, obiettivi che hanno messo a dura prova la resilienza dei servizi antiviolenza, già provati da una condizione di strutturale insufficienza delle risorse e di ritardi nei tempi di operativizzazione dei piani nazionali e di erogazione dei fondi (ActionAid, 2020, 2021; GREVIO, 2020). Partendo da questi presupposti, il lavoro si presenta come una ricerca in itinere, che - attraverso l’impiego di un metodo di ricerca di stampo qualitativo - intende concentrarsi sul caso-studio della Regione Campania, prima regione in Italia per numero di CAV attivi sul territorio. Essa restituisce una prima, inedita ricostruzione sistematica della realtà in oggetto (mappatura dei Centri antiviolenza in Campania) e una raccolta e disamina dei provvedimenti attivati a livello nazionale, regionale e locale a sostegno dell’attività di CAV e CADM, letti in virtù di un’osservazione partecipante condotta sul campo durante la fase di ripartenza. L’obiettivo è quello di operare una riflessione sulle risposte sviluppate dagli attori coinvolti a vario titolo nel sistema antiviolenza, nonché sui possibili indirizzi perseguibili per fare della ripresa un’occasione di rilancio, valorizzazione e implementazione della rete. Tale prospettiva diviene di estremo interesse soprattutto alla luce della “grande assenza” del contrasto alla violenza sulle donne tra le priorità strategiche contenute nel Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza, nonché nella Strategia nazionale per la parità di genere 2021-2026, questione demandata ad un Piano Strategico Nazionale 2021-2023 i cui assi di intervento e la relativa programmazione delle risorse sono stati approvati a fine 2021.
Postfeminist politics? Exploring equality efforts in the Spanish ICT sector in a post-Covid context
Silvia Diaz Fernandez
The Covid-19 global pandemic quickly developed into a full-blown economic and social catastrophe. The impact of the healthcare crisis has been identified to have affected women more severely than men, with 26% of women reporting loss of work in comparison with 20% of men (Flor et al., 2022). The gender disparity widens if we focus on its repercussions in the digital sector. Increased reliance on digital services and remote working has translated into an exacerbated digital gender gap between men and women. While use of the internet remains equal among genders, advanced digital skills are largely attributed to a higher percentage of men. This resonates with the existing gender gap in STEM, both among University students and industry professionals. Within the context of Spain, data on the digital gender divide is particularly worrying. A discrepancy of 6 points prevails among genders regarding advanced digital competencies, leading to a heightened disparity in relation to employment in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector: only 8% of women are assuming specialised technical positions, 12% of Artificial Intelligence technologies with high decision-making power are women and a pay gap of 8.9% cuts across the entire industry. This is concerning, especially if we consider the ubiquity of technology in our daily lives leading us to wonder: who develops technology and for who? There have been some efforts within the ICT sector in Spain in order to bridge the digital gender divide. The Spanish multinational company Telefónica has published a so-called ‘Digital Pact’ with the aim to better rebuild societies and economies worldwide. A core objective of the pact is to address the growing social and gender inequalities concerning digital skills and construct a more inclusive and sustainable digital society. In this work, I explore Telefónica’s Digital Pact through the lenses of postfeminism, arguing a corporativist reading of equality and gender is carried out in a way that it aligns with market rationality and economic growth. The idea of postfeminism has become a crucial analytical tool in cultural and media studies to explore the paradoxical contemporary gender relations, shaped simultaneously by narratives of female success and gender equality and growing misogyny and anti-feminist sentiments. Despite the utility of the concept, it has gained limited attention within the field of political theory. I argue engaging critically with the term postfeminism might be key in order to evaluate how notions of inclusivity and gender equality are not only incorporated, but re-written in a commercial and economic-oriented logic, therefore making them compatible with the practices and politics of neoliberalism. Regarding Telefónica, I argue it plays a fundamental and very influential role in this, considering its rise in positions in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), in which it currently occupies the fourth position. This makes Telefónica a role model to follow for other companies, and provided its multinational presence, its influence particularly wide-reaching. It is for these reasons that an analysis of Telefónica’s Digital Pact could be pivotal in order to explore what kind of social progression with regards to gender equality is being pushed currently in Spain. The questions that guide this work are the following: 1) what postfeminist politics are shaping Telefónica’s Digital Pact regarding its post-pandemic recovery strategy?; 2) what are the implications of the kind of gender discourses that are promoted by the company for gender theory and gender equality policies evaluation?; 3) how does Telefónica’s appropriation of a gender inclusive agenda relate to the wider context of global capitalist transformation underpinned by neoliberal policy problem-solving narratives that seek to enhance and legitimise their market competitiveness through engagement with social justice agendas? To answer these questions, I develop my argument drawing McRobbie’s engagement with the concept of postfeminism, Elias’ research on postfeminist politics and Kriszan and Lombardo’s (2013) feminist political analysis. In my analysis, I argue Telefónica’s Digital Pact produces a gender discourse through the notion of inclusivity that functions to further consolidate dominant global logics that depolitise feminism and the fight for equality. Additionally, the postfeminist sense-making framing the policy is based on an understanding of gender and inclusion that centres economic prosperity over structural social transformation, which would otherwise require a systematic reconsideration of Telefónica’s own role in the reproduction of gendered forms of inequality. Exploring equality efforts in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic is fundamental, as this is a critical time where women’s rights and the the fight for equality have been rolled back in order to prioritise economic recovery. With this work, I am not arguing against an incorporation of gender and inclusivity on the agendas of companies, particularly those within the ICT sector considering its striking gender gap. However, I believe it is important to critically engage with these efforts in order to ascertain whether gender equality is being instrumentalized solely to serve economic growth and competitiveness. If such is the case, the transformative potential of gender equality policies will be called into question, and it may just be the time to go back to the feminist drawing board.
The Socio-political Nature of the Gender Gap in COVID-19 Vaccinations: An Ecological Analysis
Udi Sommer, Or Rappel-Kroyzer
Abstract Prima facie, in the case of COVID-19 vaccinations, women should not be more likely to take them. Indeed, if surveys predating the vaccination campaign were any indication, men were more inclined to do so than women. However, gender gaps are pervasive in society and specifically in health-related issues. In the case of COVID-19 vaccinations, using an ecological design, we find a consistent pattern, where a gender gap is persistent over time and highly correlated between different locales in America. What is more, there is considerable variance between different states, and even between counties within the same state. Furthermore, while shrinking over time, the temporal change in gender gap converges with a similar temporal pattern and onto a similar range over time. Compounded by the heavily political nature COVID-19 has assumed in America, which was doubly true for its vaccination campaign, the political effects on the vaccination gender gap were accentuated.