The Gender Politics of Domestic Violence: Feminists Engaging the State in Central and Eastern Europe, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Gender Politics of Domestic Violence

Feminists Engaging the State in Central and Eastern Europe, 1st Edition

By Andrea Krizsán, Conny Roggeband


216 pages

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What are the factors that shape domestic violence policy change and how are variable gendered meanings produced in these policies? How and when can feminists influence policy making? What conditions and policy mechanisms lead to progressive change and which ones block it or lead to reversal?

The Gender Politics of Domestic Violence analyzes the emergence of gender equality sensitive domestic violence policy reforms in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Tracing policy developments in Eastern Europe from the beginning of 2000s, when domestic violence first emerged on policy agendas, until 2015, Andrea Krizsán and Conny Roggeband look into the contestation that takes place between women’s movements, states and actors opposing gender equality to explain the differences in gender equality sensitive policy outputs across the region.

They point to regionally specific patterns of feminist engagement with the state in which coalition-building between women’s organizations and establishing alliances with different state actors were critical for achieving gendered policy progress. In addition, they demonstrate how discursive contexts shaped by democratization frames and opposition to gender equality, led to differences in the politicization of gender equality, making gender friendly reforms more feasible in some countries than others.


'Placing violence against women on the global human rights agenda is one of the most impressive successes of the international women’s rights movement. By 2015, the overwhelming majority of countries in Central and Eastern Europe that are also currently members of the European Union had adopted laws addressing domestic violence. Yet despite their common origins in state socialism and their exit from it, the authors of this book skillfully show that, twenty-five years after the collapse of the Berlin wall, domestic violence policy in these countries is characterized by major differences. Using interpretive policy analysis, they find the reasons for these differences and their implications for women’s rights in the domestic politics of these countries. In doing so, they make a substantial contribution to the literatures on human rights, on violence against women, on gender and politics, and on transitions to democracy.' - Sidney Tarrow, author of Power in Movement (2011)

'Born of critical frame analysis as one of the heirs of the EU-funded multinational QUING project and nourished with extensive interviews with policy actors and movement activists, this comparative project on Central and East Europe (CEE) matured into a strong book on feminist social action and democratic change. One need not be a scholar of CEE politics to benefit from Krizsán and Roggeband’s searching analysis of why and how such superficially similar states moved in different directions and how feminist efforts to influence policy in any human rights regime can be ignored, coopted or even sometimes effective. The authors demonstrate that effectiveness is not measured in the number of laws or programs but whether the essential gender connection is drawn to prevent abuse and protect women.' - Myra Marx Ferree, Alice H. Cook Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: The Gender Politics of Domestic Violence Policy Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe

2. Five Stories of Change

3. Mapping Gendered Meanings of Domestic Violence Legal and Policy Reforms: Comparing Policy Change Over Time

4. Politicizing Domestic Violence: Dynamics of Gendered Structures

5. Comparing Women’s Movements Across the Region

6. How Does Gender Disappear and Reappear in Domestic Violence Policy Regimes

7. Conclusions: Gendering Domestic Violence Policies

About the Author

Andrea Krizsán is a Research Fellow at the Center for Policy Studies, Central European University, Budapest. Her research focuses on the comparative politics of gender inequality and violence against women and intersectionality in Central and Eastern Europe.

Conny Roggeband lectures at the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include gender mainstreaming and equality policies, gender-based violence, social movements and transnational feminist networking.

About the Series

Gender and Comparative Politics

Philip Ayoub (Drexel University)

Andrea Krizsan (Central Europe University)

Emanuela Lombardo (Universitad Complutense de Madrid)

Sabine Lang (University of Washington)

Joni Lovenduski (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Amy Mazur (Washington State University)

Joyce Outshoorn (University of Leiden)

Mieke Verloo (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen).

The comparative research conducted in the field of gender and politics today is more than ever resulting in innovative theory building, applying novel research designs and engaging with mainstream political science. Gender & Politics has moved from the margins of political science to the center. Given the highly critical and activist roots of the gender and politics scholarship, it quasi naturally embraces intersectionality. The Routledge Gender and Comparative Politics Book Series aims to reflect this rich, critical and broad scholarship covering the main political science sub-disciplines with, for instance, gender focused research on political economy, civil society, citizenship, political participation and representation, governance and policy making.

To reflect the diversity in the field, the book series welcomes book proposals such as:

  1. Research monographs that capture outstanding scholar contributions
  2. Reference handbooks and companions for the research community as well as tailored-made textbooks for undergraduates and graduates students
  3. Edited volumes which gather the growing participation in research networks and research-focused activities
  4. Research Methods contributions in Comparative Gender Politics that will attract faculty, scholars and students alike.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies