Publications of Mieke Verloo

Contesting Gender Equality in Domestic-Violence Policy Debates: Comparing Three Countries in Central and Eastern Europe

This chapter looks at opposition to gender equality as a component of political opportunity structures, a factor that conditions women’s movement mobilization either by limiting the opportunities available to it or by serving as its catalyst. In order to understand how opposition can become an aspect of political opportunities we analyze opposition to women’s movement mobilizatin for domestic violence policy progress in four countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The analysis adopts a wide understanding of opposition to gender equality, to include not just explicitly articulated challenges to gender equality claims but also challenges that at face value do not address gender equality, but still indirectly threaten a gender equality understanding of domestic violence policy. In order to understand contestation to gender equality in this field the chapter looks at frames opposing a gendered understanding of domestic violence, and actors behind them, state as well as non-state opponents. To understand dynamics between opposition and movement strategies it looks at coping and reaction mechanisms used by movement actors in the presence of opposition. The chapter argues first that opposition influences the meanings articulated by movement actors in their claims. Discursive structures that are oppositional or oppositional framing used by strong actors set boundaries to meanings that can be articulated in feminist mobilization for change. Secondly, it shows that opposition also influences strategies of mobilization including coalition formation, institutional alliances, as well as the mechanisms of influence. Overall this chapter demonstrates the importance of looking at opposition over time rather than as a snapshot. Over time, changes in the specific form opposition takes, and the extent it is gendered, and mobilization patterns connected to it, highlight aspects of temporality of opposition and the extent to which it is historically contingent, and dynamically constructed in arenas populated by movements and their allies, states and non-state opposition actors.

Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality: A Critical Frame Analysis of Gender Policies in Europe

This book aims to map the diversity of meanings of gender equality across Europe and reflects on the contested concept of gender equality. In its exploration of the diverse meanings of gender equality it not only takes into account the existence of different visions of gender equality, and the way in which different political and theoretical debates crosscut these visions, but also reflects upon the geographical contexts in which visions and debates over gender equality are located. The contextual locations where these visions and debates take place include the European Union and member states such as Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, and Spain. In all of these settings, the different meanings of gender equality are explored comparatively in relation to the issues of family policies, domestic violence, and gender inequality in politics, while specific national contexts discuss the issues of prostitution (Austria, Slovenia), migration (the Netherlands), homosexual rights (Spain), and antidiscrimination (Hungary). The multiple meanings of gender equality are studied through Critical Frame Analysis, a methodology that builds on social movement theory and that was refined further with elements of gender and political theory within the context of the MAGEEQ research project ( The policy frames analyzed express particular representations of what the problem of gender inequality is and what the solution could be. They also include traces about how gender and other inequalities are conceptualized; who has/should have a voice in the framing of gender equality problems and solutions; for whom is gender inequality seen to be a problem; who is represented as the normative group; and who are the target groups of the policy measures proposed. In the discussion of the different ways of framing gender equality in Europe, each chapter will provide insights on the ongoing theoretical and political debate about “what is gender equality?”, disclosing the visions, debates, and contexts that move around and contribute to shape such a complex and contested concept.

Krizsan A, Bustelo M, Hadjigianni A. Domestic Violence: a public matter. In: Verloo M, editor. Multiple Meanings of Gender Equality. A Critical Frame Analysis of Gender Policies in Europe . Budapest: CEU Press; 2007.