Norm under fire: Support and opposition to EU's ratification of the Istanbul Convention

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The Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence is contested across Europe by a strong anti-gender rhetoric, posing a direct threat to gender equality progress. Together with opposition to gender equality, attacks on the Convention have the effect of delegitimizing the norm it carries, namely ending gender violence. Opposition is also visible in the European Parliament and shapes the discourse of a possible ratification by the European Union. First perceived as a milestone for the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality by supporters in the European Parliament, the Convention soon became a norm ‘under fire’ as the target of hot anti-gender contestations. Using a unique set of interview data with key parliamentary actors and Members of the European Parliament, this article analyses the discursive politics of contestation between norm promoters and norm antipreneurs regarding EU’s ratification to the Convention. The analysis shows how ratification is constructed in oppositional terms with findings illuminating on direct and indirect forms of opposition to gender equality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Istanbul Convention
  • European Parliament
  • Opposition to gender equality
  • norm contestation
  • norm antipreneurs

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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