A Recognised European Feminist Network to Stop the Anti-Gender Movement


A 28-year-old woman was fatally stabbed by her ex-boyfriend just outside the police station in Athens, Greece. Despite having filed a complaint with the police and requesting an escort home due to fear for her safety, knowing her ex-boyfriend had been loitering nearby, she did not receive assistance. According to reports, she was informed that no police cars were available. Could alternative measures have been taken to help her? It is evident that the woman's pleas for help, in this situation, and the imminent danger she faced were not taken seriously by the authorities. This tragedy underscores the pervasive influence of the anti-gender movement, which manifests itself from grassroots levels to institutional structures. Even though ensuring the safety and protection of citizens is ostensibly the primary objective of law enforcement, it appears that in this case, such concerns were overlooked. Could it be that the officers were influenced by prevailing societal attitudes, perhaps perpetuated by media narratives that dismiss women's fears as mere "feminist paranoia"?

Feminist organizations are in need of emergency assistance for advocates in danger, the capacity to quickly disseminate information, can mean the difference between life and death and/or the successful repelling of an attack on women's human rights. These efforts are crucially linked to advocating for policymakers to adopt inclusive policies and ensuring their accountability to women worldwide.Moreover, the capacity of feminist movements to collaborate with like-minded NGOs and individuals seeking feminist organizations is paramount. Often, it's a matter of identifying organizations engaged in similar work in neighboring countries. Such connections facilitate solidarity and collective action in advancing women's rights across borders.There are numerous EU-level NGOs dedicated to promoting gender equality and advocating for feminist policies, with many actively engaged in EU-funded projects. However, there is a pressing need to enhance support for networking and collaboration among these organizations. Additionally, efforts should be made to encourage collaboration with groups focusing on intersectionality and lobbying for other underrepresented communities. Strengthening these connections will amplify the collective impact of advocacy efforts and advance the rights of all marginalized groups.

The European case is particularly noteworthy, with the establishment of the  European Commission Equality, Rights, and Values (CERV) Programme offers a glimpse of hope for European feminist civil society organisations as it promises a budget of EUR 1.55 billion from 2021 to 2027 for civil  society organisations that work on citizen engagement, equality, and the promotion of EU rights and values (European Commission 2021).

It is indeed deeply concerning that feminist and women-oriented organizations often struggle to receive adequate support to meet their basic needs. Furthermore, the proliferation of false allegations, fabricated plans, and malicious agendas targeting activists and the values they promote exacerbates the challenges they face. This online landscape of misinformation not only undermines the credibility of these organizations but also hinders their vital efforts to advance gender equality and women's rights. Moreover, there are huge financial and human resources involved in this propaganda. 

Anti-gender actors operating in Europe received a significant amount of funding, totaling over $707.2 million from 2009 to 2018. Over 60% of the funding for anti-gender actors in Europe comes from within European countries.  (EPF, 2021)*

Surprising, yes? But, it makes total sense, as in many countries anti-gender political actors are getting stronger and  have a very particular way of manipulating in media, television, social oppression, etc. 

Various European political parties have been noted for their opposition to gender equality, often expressing traditional views on gender roles. Examples include far-right and populist parties such as France's National Rally, Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD), and Italy's League. Additionally, conservative parties like Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) and Hungary's Fidesz have faced criticism for their stances on issues like abortion rights and LGBTIQ+ rights. Eurosceptic parties like UKIP in the UK and far-right groups in Eastern Europe also tend to propagate anti-gender narratives.

These parties and their supporters disseminate anti-gender rhetoric through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. They may also maintain websites, blogs, and forums where they publish content criticizing gender equality initiatives and promoting traditional gender roles. During political events, they may run digital campaigns targeting specific demographics with messaging that opposes gender equality measures, often framing them as threats to traditional values and societal norms. Social media has indeed been instrumental in facilitating the mobilization of both pro- and anti-gender equality actors, providing them with platforms to disseminate their views and campaigns. A study identified 110 prominent actors involved in promoting or opposing gender equality across international and national levels in countries such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain (Maglietta, 2023).

In Poland and Hungary, school education about gender diversity and sexual orientation continues to be one of the most widely discussed topics across social media and other media sources. Meanwhile, in Western Europe, the primary focus of discussion tends to revolve around the inclusion of transgender individuals. Both anti-gender equality actors and certain factions within feminist and LGBTIQ+ communities are actively campaigning against the inclusion of transgender people in sports and advocating for the preservation of biological women-only spaces in public. This debate often perpetuates myths, stereotypes, and disinformation, further complicating the discourse surrounding gender diversity and inclusion.

The EU has implemented numerous strategies at both legislative and advocacy levels, signaling a significant push for gender equality. Notably, its proactive stance, exemplified by its accession to the Istanbul Convention in 2023, underscores its commitment to global leadership in this domain. Despite these efforts, challenges persist within the EU, with opposition from anti-feminist sentiments and political groups posing obstacles, particularly within the European Parliament.

While progress has been achieved, hurdles remain, with certain Member States within the European Council resisting advancements in gender-related initiatives. Addressing issues such as women's underrepresentation, intersectionality, and clarifying the concept of 'gender mainstreaming' are vital steps forward. It is evident that tailored, context-specific strategies are essential to combat anti-gender narratives across all Member States, highlighting the necessity for diverse approaches to tackle unique challenges effectively.

Over 60% of the funding for anti-gender actors in Europe comes from within European countries.

(*): The remaining quantity of funds are originated in the US and the Russian Federation.

Our first claim: A Recognised European Feminist Network to Stop the Antifeminist and Anti-Gender Movement

1.1: Redirect the funding to secure sustainable and transparent feminist networking

1.2: Confront online democracy threats such as disinformation and hate speech

1.3: Words Matter: "Words shape worlds", addressing the problem of hate speech

References (2024, April 2). Retrieved:

Maglietta, V. (2023). Anti-Gender Backlash: Background Anti-gender Backlash in Europe: First Findings and Recommendations -Deliverable 14 - POLICY BRIEF. Retrieved from
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