Exciting News and Updates from Push*Back*Lash: Issue 4
Project News and Updates
Issue 4
January, 2024

New year, new newsletter.

Hello world, happy new year and welcome to our January newsletter!

Read on to learn about the project's news and highlights.

Project News
Let's Design Equality Together

Educational Cartoon on Equal Participation

The Push*Back*Lash cartoon series has been opened with the first cartoon on equal participation.

In collaboration with GESIS – Leibnitz Institute for the Social Sciences, the two Cologne-based cartoonists Meei and Olan Weber illustrated a cartoon with the topic “Make a Space, Take a Space!”. The cartoon is aimed at the 12-14 age group (but works for the elementary school kids as well) and is designed for educational use.

The artwork shows a fictional street fair in the year 2050. The occasion is "Equal Participation Day," a public holiday that celebrates equality and equal participation for all members of society. The day is an opportunity to celebrate progress towards equality, but also to reflect on the status quo. How can we better ensure that the doors to social and political participation are open to all groups in society in the future? The street fair shown in the cartoon provides a space for gathering and exchanging ideas, and for encouraging participation and learning. People of all social groups can be seen at the street fair on Equal Participation Day. Young and old, people of different genders and religions, people with disabilities and people without disabilities, celebrate together and explore the themes of equality and participation.

“Make a Space, Take a Space!” points out that, on the one hand, it is important to welcome people from all social groups into spaces where they can participate and contribute politically. On the other hand, a society must also provide them with resources that enable them to occupy these spaces and step up as leaders.  

The cartoon is supported with teaching materials and further reading in both English and German.
To browse and download our first cartoon and its supporting material in English or German, please click here or visit the Push*Back*Lash website: https://pushbacklash.eu/dissemination/cartoons/

"WHO HAS THE POWER?" – Tracking Gender Equality and EU Women’s Empowerment 

Push*Back*Lash is proud to present the project's first infographic, which investigates the important question "WHO HAS THE POWER?" when it comes to gender equality and women in positions of power.

The questions don't stop there. The infographic also explores: What is the state of gender equality in the European Union? How is power distributed at the political, social or economic level? How has gender equality developed over the last ten years? In which EU countries is gender equality already well advanced and which still have a lot of catching up to do? And what do EU citizens actually think about women in leadership positions?  

The graphic was created in cooperation between GESIS – Leibnitz Institute for the Social Sciences and the Cologne-based illustrator Laura Sistig. You can find it by clicking here or on the Push*Back*Lash website: https://pushbacklash.eu/dissemination/

Preliminary report on the Pushback Strategies against Anti-Gender Discourse

The report focuses on the pushback strategies of governments, political parties, civil society, and other key stakeholders in all EU Member States (+ the UK). The report presents the results of the desk research carried out with the aim of collecting evidence about existing pushback strategies against anti-gender discourses at the EU and national levels. The examples of good practices presented may help support future policies and actions by governments, political parties, and civil society. The report also offers preliminary policy recommendations. Read more here or on the Push*Back*Lash website: https://pushbacklash.eu/dissemination/

Policy Brief on Anti-Gender Backlash in Europe

We are also happy to present our first policy brief on anti-gender backlash in Europe. It reports the first findings of our research and provides recommendations.

For example, we have found that EU citizens’ attitudes towards women in positions of power and responsibility have improved since 2009. However, about 1/3 of EU citizens would not feel comfortable with an LGBTQI+ person in the highest position of power. 

We have also uncovered that gender norms remain a factor behind the gender gap in political involvement in EU-27 Member States and the UK. 

Additionally, an in-depth analysis of Austrian longitudinal survey data revealed a re-traditionalization of women’s gender role attitudes due to Covid-19 pandemic policies in Austria.

To learn more about our results and recommendations, click here or go to our website: https://pushbacklash.eu/dissemination/

Other News

Dr. Barbara Helfferich, the Vice-President of the first independent feminist think tank, Gender Five Plus, and the WP7 lead, was awarded The European Women's Leadership Award 2024 (https://ewilawards.com).

The award recipients are eight extraordinary women, who at a certain moment of their life, have decided to follow their dream, to break with traditional obligations around them, to challenge male-dominated areas, to act in a respectful way in order to give an example to all those women who do not (yet) dare to raise their voice and to develop their potential. 

Congratulations, Barbara! We are very proud of you!

On January 17, 2024, Vera Beloshitzkaya participated in a panel discussion of the documentary Backlash, Mysogyny in the Digital Age (backlashthefilm.com), linking the patterns shown in the movie to a broader anti-gender backlash and the project research. The panel also explored solutions to the rise in mysogyny. The event was attended by the international audience. The film screening was organized by Professor Dr. Kyoko Shinozaki and her students from the University of Salzburg, Land Salzburg, and the Canadian Embassy in Austria.

Lara Zwittlinger contributed to the discussion on why women are still grossly underepresented in STEM and ICT programs, proposing actionable solutions on how to turn things around. Read more here.

Progress Updates

We have completed our first year of the project implementation. We are now preparing our first technical and financial report to the European Commission. 

Our research continues. The focus groups to explore people's understanding of democracy and feminism are now being prepared. The survey is heading for an ethical review. The experts are working on the exploration of effective country-specific strategies to counteract anti-gender equality. Interview guides are being developed to examine the experiences of intersectional feminist activists in Hungary and Poland. 

Upcoming Events

Stand up to Anti-feminism!

 PUSH*BACK*LASH: Countering Anti-Feminism-Gender Backlash & Democratic Pushback in Europe Video Conference

Save the date and RSVP

You are cordially invited to join us for a Zoom video conference titled "PUSH*BACK*LASH: Countering Anti-Feminism-Gender Backlash & Democratic Pushback in Europe."

This conference will focus on strategies to counter anti-feminist/anti-gender narratives and actions in the European Union.

Event Details:

  • Date: Friday, 22nd of March, 2024
  • Time: 15-17:00 CET
  • Place: Zoom
  • Agenda: Discussion of and feedback on the preliminary findings of the  desk research, which has identified pushback strategies against anti-gender discourses with a focus on intersectional feminist activism.  

Kindly RSVP by March 15, 2024 to confirm your attendance.

As soon as Gender Five Plus gets your RSVP, they will send you the full agenda and the zoom link.

We look forward to your participation and insights at this important conference to drive positive change and promote gender equality in European societies.

EUGENDERING seminar about anti-gender movements in Georgia and Ukraine by G5+

Step into the dynamic world of 21st-century Europe, where the spotlight on LGBTQI+ rights shines bright, challenging the very fabric of ‘European values’ on a global stage. Yet, within the European Union and beyond, a discordant note reverberates, as anti-gender movements gain momentum, fueled by conservative and religious alliances. These movements, weaving narratives of hatred, specifically target the vibrant LGBTQI+ community.

Join G5+ for a captivating exploration into the heart of this narrative at the EUGENDERING Seminar on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, from 12h to 13h30. Delve into the entangled landscapes of Georgia and Ukraine, where the echoes of Russia’s war have transformed into a clash of fundamental values. The battleground is no longer confined to geopolitics; it’s a clash between the West’s call for liberal ideals, championing LGBTQI+ rights and gender equality, and Russia’s staunch defense of ‘traditional family values’ and Orthodox Christian morals.

Uncover the intricacies of this narrative, originally crafted by Russia but now weaving through both sides. While this discourse opens doors for political opportunities, empowering activists in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia to push for progressive legislation on sexual and gender equality, there’s a concern. Could the emphasis on this specific discourse overshadow the nuanced dynamics at play?

Don’t miss this thought-provoking presentation by Maryna Shevtsova (KULeuven), accompanied by insightful discussions led by Alexandra Ana (ULB) and Laura Luciani (UGent). Join G5+ either in person at Room P30 (119 rue du marais, Préfecture building, 3rd floor) or online via Teams.

Register now for an engaging exploration into the depths of political homophobia and the ‘clash of values’ in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Let’s decode the intricate tapestry of Europe’s socio-political landscape together!


In conclusion, it has been a few busy months for us. Data collection, research, presentations, and reporting are steadily ongoing, as we continue to explore anti-gender and anti-feminist discourses, issues, and attitudes to strengthen democracies in Europe and beyond. Stay tuned for more news and updates in our April newsletter.




The Push*Back*Lash Team

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101061687.

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor European Research Executive Agency can be held responsible for them.

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