The Populist Challenge to Gender Equality

Birte Siim, Christina Fiig

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Populism is an area of growing concern in contemporary Europe and scholars interpret the rise of populist radical right parties as a challenge to liberal democracy, freedom and gender equality. The chapter analyses the relations between populism and gender across Europe and within the European Union. It demonstrates that mainstream literature on populism, with a few exceptions, has neglected gender issues and perspectives. The chapter pinpoints at a ‘gender gap’ in the scholarly literature, since populism research lacks systematic studies of gender and populism. It proposes that mainstream literature on populism and the feminist literature on reframing of gender and right wing populism still presents two separate bodies of literature. Gender scholars tend to agree that neo-nationalist (and populist) discourses reflect a gender bias, which construct men and women differently in their public and private lives. Yet no agreement exists about ways to gender populism or about the implications for gender, equality and feminist politics. Research concludes that populism is contextual and identify a growing of opposition to gender equality across Europe and in the EU. The chapter ends by discussing strategies to overcome the populist challenge to democracy, (gender) equality and social justice from transnational EU perspectives.

Translated title of the contributionDen populistiske udfordring til lighed mellem køn
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Gender and EU Politics
EditorsGabriele Abels, Andrea Krizsán, Heather MacRae, Anna van der Vleuten
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
Publication dateMar 2021
Article number29
ChapterPart V
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-485-25-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-351-94995-5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Gender Equality
  • Nationalism
  • femo-nationalism
  • anti-gender equality policies
  • reproductive rights
  • de-democratization


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