The ERC funded research project “Gender, party politics and democracy in Europe: A study of European Parliament’s party groups” (EUGenDem) commences 1 August 2018.

The five-year (2018-2023) research project is funded by European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant (PI Professor Johanna Kantola). It is located in Gender Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. Dr Anna Elomäki and Dr Petra Ahrens are the Senior Researchers in the project, Dr Cherry Miller a Postdoctoral Researcher and Valentine Berthet a Dissertation Researcher.

EUGenDem provides a systematic analysis of the gendered policies and practices of European party politics. The research comprises a comparative study of the European Parliament’s (EP) party groups and generates empirical findings about the significance of gender in the current party political transformations in Europe.

To provide such a critical gender analysis, this project divides the EP’s party groups into three clusters of: (i) traditional left and right party groups, (ii) populist and radical right party groups and (iii) equality party groups. It undertakes an empirical analysis of party group policies and formal and informal practices in relation to gender. Focusing on selected party groups’ policies generates knowledge about political contestation about gender equality in relation to economy, social rights and moral politics. The three selected policy areas cover explicitly gendered issues (gender violence); an issue where the centrality of gender is recognized but easily eclipsed (Social Rights Pillar), and an issue where gendered consequences are severe, but linkages to gender are omitted (economic crisis).

 

Further potential lies in this key methodological innovation whereby the proposed project links informal institutions and discourses to affects and emotions, generating research designs with which the persistence of gender inequalities can be analysed more thoroughly than current gender and politics research allows. More nuanced conceptualizations, and theories about inclusive representation, gender justice and democracy at the transnational level, are a likely consequence of adopting an innovative methodological approach where empirical findings inform the theoretical level. Therefore, the project has a high societal impact as it speaks directly to the current political crises in Europe, and provides an understanding of their gendered underpinnings.

Thus, the key ambition of this research project is: based on a thorough empirical understanding of gender and party politics at the European Parliament to build novel methodologies, concepts and theories about inclusive representation, gender justice and democracy.