In this project we will use comparative discourse analysis using in-depth national case-studies, covering the national contexts of the partner institutions participating in our consortium. We will analyse the current theoretical frameworks and practices of intersectional feminism in the Netherlands, the UK as well as Greece and Turkey. Other countries can be included and will be discussed with the partners of the consortium. On top of that, we want to include modern democratic contexts beyond the European Union to broaden our scope.
In the first stage of our study on modern intersectional feminism, we will examine feminist discourses both in theory as well as in (political) practice and activism. We propose to do so by thoroughly analysing and mapping the evolution of modern feminism, focusing on how feminist discourses have changed and how feminism is manifested in democratic European societies. Our aim is to identify approaches and methods to engender democracy within the current feminist discourses and the anti-feminist backlash debate.
The same methodology and case-studies will be used in the second stage of our research in order to identify and analyse the anti-feminist backlash that has taken place over the same period (t.b.d.). Our goal for this second research stage is to understand how intersectional feminism and gender are being used in traditional media and social media and the reaction of extreme populist discourses countering gender-equality. We will focus on how voices of women in the public debate are silenced on social media and what needs to be done to empower women’s voices, despite the existing online backlash and abuse, which is often experienced by female academics, politicians and other female actors. Acts of symbolic online violence sometimes turn into real life threats and abuse, which might deter women from expressing their voice and sharing their knowledge on social media. Therefore, we will research if and how this is handled by law enforcement. We will compare the legal approach to online violence in the different EU member states. Also, we want to research if law enforcement is equipped to deal with this and will make recommendations to strengthen legal protection of female voices.
In the third stage of our research project, our extensive analyses and insights on both feminism and its backlash will be combined into one coherent framework covering modern feminisms and their impacts on engendering democratic societies in the European Union and beyond.
However, our project will not end here. Apart from creating new knowledge and developing policy recommendations, we envision to develop practical approaches and methods to integrate gender-equality and the voice of women into democracy more effectively. This will include tangible tools and solutions, such as women networks, trainings for women on how to share their knowledge and deal with online backlash at the same time, toolkits for women and organisations. Moreover, we will develop policy recommendation toolboxes for not just policy makers, but also social media platforms, civil society organisations and other actors in the field of gender and politics. Other applications are possible based on the information that will be collected.
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