Prospects for Gender Equality Politics in Central and Eastern Europe

The research was based on the hypothesis that the formulation of equal opportunity policies in CEE countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia) necessitates the reinforcement of efforts towards the greater participation of women in institutional politics and the promotion of a new political agenda. The theoretical part of the study concentrated on the issue of active citizenship and the status and understanding of politics in CEE countries as essential for the formulation of a political agenda that would incorporate equal opportunity policies. The empirical part was dedicated to a comparative analysis of the state, in the narrow sense of the word, party politics, and the organised part of civil society.
Our basic conclusions are as follows:

  • Legislation and elements of national mechanisms supporting equal opportunities mainly exist but are weak, unstable and ineffective. Their formal and representative role is manifested primarily through demands from the EU for the introduction of equal opportunity policies.
  • Feminist political activism within NGOs in CEE countries is rare. There is an aversion to collective action and institutional measures for increasing political participation.
  • As for party politics with regard to equal opportunities, structural solutions seem to be most important but are not welcome at present.

The political agenda and the public’s attitude towards equal opportunity policies show an awareness of gender inequality in various areas, particularly politics. A large segment of the public thinks that the systematic equalisation of opportunities would create a balance of unjust differences. Still, there is a lack of general political support for equal opportunities, while debates are mostly confined to pre-election periods.

Project leader: Vlasta Jalušič
Project coworkers: Katie Evans, Alenka Švab, Milica G. Antić and Roman Kuhar