“‘This agenda will never be politically popular’: Central Europe’s anti-gender mobilization and the Czech Women, Peace and Security agenda”, Mila O’Sullivan (IIR, Czech Republic)

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda has recently started to gain traction in Central Europe, notwithstanding discussion in the region about the harms that the so-called “gender ideology” allegedly causes. In 2017, the Czech Republic was the first Central European country to adopt its National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS. Through analyzing the Czech NAP, we explore what kinds of WPS policies can emerge in a seemingly hostile institutional environment, where the pursuit of gender equality is frequently ridiculed and the WPS agenda itself is nicknamed “wine, women, and song.” By combining a feminist institutionalist approach with feminist discourse analysis, we uncover the interplay of formal and informal institutional practices and anti-“gender ideology” discourses during the creation, adoption, implementation, and review of the Czech NAP. We show that, due in part to this glocalized backlash against “gender ideology,” the Czech NAP has been driven from the top down by a small group of femocrats who tend to focus on “small victories” and are careful not to draw too much attention to gender-related agendas. The resulting NAP, however, becomes a declaratory instrument grounded in gender essentialism, a narrative of victimhood, and conventional assumptions about women’s roles in peace and security.

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