CES: Varieties of European Women's Movements?


Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 2:15pm to 4:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffmann Room, 27 Kirkland Street, Cambridge

Seminar on Social Exclusion and Inclusion:


Silke Roth

Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton


European women's and feminist movements reflect European (and world) history, along with cultural and political differences. The mobilization of women and feminists in Europe has been shaped by colonialism and post-colonial relations, fascism, the Cold War, varieties of capitalism, the strength of labor movements, the impact of the Catholic Church and membership in the European Union (EU). While there are some commonalities, there are also persistent distinctions between European women's movements. European countries are characterized by a variety of welfare and gender regimes that result in different relationships between feminist movements and the state. European women's movements have experienced state feminism and professionalization processes at different points in time and to varying degrees. They are characterized by diversity within and across countries, combining insider and outsider activism. There are also significant differences within regions, for example, with respect to variations in an authoritarian past, the role of the Catholic Church and the status of sexual and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, countries joined the European Union at various times and EU membership had distinct consequences depending on the state of gender equality and gender policies prior to joining the EU. However, it needs to be kept in mind that the EU is not identical with Europe. Switzerland and Norway do not belong to the EU, Turkey is a candidate for membership and in 2016 the UK decided to leave the EU. Furthermore, ongoing interaction among European women's movements that does not mean convergence. In addition to surveying women's movements in Western, Southern, Northern and Eastern Europe, this talk gives an overview over European Women's Networks, web-based activism, Majority-Minority Relations, the shift from State to Market Feminism and feminist responses to Austerity measures.