Public Consultations in the EU: Powers and Pitfalls of Citizen Outreach

In this project and with the help of Jared Lyon, I focus on the European Union’s public consultation processes. in the area of gender equality. Public consultations are part of the EU’s post-Lisbon strategy to increase democratic legitimacy and citizen buy in into the integration project. Since 2015, the EU has organized over 400 public consultations that invite deliberation and commentary about specific EU policies. Public consultations are intended to generate voice from organized stakeholders and interested individuals, thus creating linkages that theoretically establish more salient EU-level norms and policies as a result of increased deliberative processes. In this project, we use quantitative and qualitative data to assess (1)  decisions of what is being put up for public input in EU gender policy; (2) the substantive policy dilemmas that guide specific consultations; (3) the role of national and subnational translation in engaging with the provided consultations; (4) how the make-up of respondents and their specific national/organizational background impacts the results of a consultation, and (5) to what degree the outcome is utilized to adjust or alter EU-level policies.

The Genderedness of European Civil Society — Voices in the Triple Crises

This project builds on my participation in the Routleddge Handbook on Gender and EU Politics , edited by Professors Gabriele Abels, Andrea Krizsan, Heather Macrae and Anna van der Vleuten. I investigate to what degree the European crises of recent years (the financial crisis, the migration crisis, and Covid-19) are re-gendering European civil society. Do EU member states rely on women as ‘crisis articulators’ and ‘crisis managers’ in the public mind? To what degree do these crises impact feminist civil society?

Leading from Behind? Gender Equality in Germany During the Merkel Era

Together with my co-editors Petra Ahrens (University of Tampere, Finland) and Phillip Ayoub (Occidental College), I edit a special journal issue on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s legacy in the area of gender equality. While maintaining its status as an economic engine in Europe, Germany has historically been a laggard in adopting gender equality measures. Despite this background, the European Gender Equality Index now ranks Germany relatively high and shows substantial progress in gender equality since 2005. While this has gone mostly unnoticed, Germany under the Chancellorship of Angela Merkel has passed far-reaching legislation in major policy fields relevant for gender equality. That said, the adoption of policy does not necessarily lead to successful implementation, and the divergent perceptions of Germany in relation to gender invite deeper scholarly investigation. The articles in our special issue will assess policy output and outcomes with a focus on internal power dynamics as well as international and EU-level pressures in the policy domains of political representation, migration and asylum, care, sexual rights, the labor market, and foreign policy.

Implementing Gender Quotas in Political Representation: Resisting Institutions

Together with my co-editors Petra Meier (University of Antwerp) and Birgit Sauer (University of Vienna) I edit a volume on gender quota implementation in Europe for the Palgrave Gender and Politics series. Resisting Institutions takes its cue from the various modes of resistance that surround and shape the implementation of gender quotas in political representation across Europe. In its most obvious meaning, Resisting Institutions points to the myriad ways in which political institutions in Europe over the past century have resisted or blocked stronger inclusion of women into politics. At the same time, women have resisted the institutions – by claiming the right to active and passive vote early on, then by demanding an equal share of political power and by pressuring their political leaders to address massive underrepresentation of women in their legislatures. Quotas, thus, resist existing androcentric institutions. The central question addressed in this book is how quota policies – meant to improve gender equality in the field of political representation – get implemented, who the actors of promotion and resistance are, and to what extent this process contributes to or hampers the equality-promoting potential of that measure.

Gender Equality in Politics and Practice (GEPP)

Together with my colleagues Birgit Sauer and Katja Chmilewski  (University of Vienna) and Petra Ahrens (University of Antwerp), I investigate the “gender quota gap” in Germany and Austria: Although in both countries most parties have implemented party quotas for electoral lists, the share of women in national parliaments remains below the quota. Comparing state and substate effects of party quotas in the two major parties – social democrats and Christian conservatives -, we assess modes of compliance on the federal and Länder levels and stipulate that it is primarily the fine print of how electoral party lists are drafted and the electoral system itself that create deviations from set party quota policies. Candidate selection in the German mixed electoral system is compared to the Austrian proportional system as to their impact on female candidate selection and success. Moreover, different commitments to and levels of sanctions on the state and substate level and among parties contribute to uneven implementation in the German and Austrian federations.