Knowledge Café -The Female Face of the Far Right – Country perspectives and progressive counter-strategies
9 November 2017 - Blue Restaurant, Palais de l’Europe
11.30-13.00: First round
14.30-16.00: Second round
Sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Germany
Populism has been gaining ground in Europe. For a long time women seemed to be hardly inclined to support right-wing parties, neither as politically active members, nor as voters. In recent years however, women are much more present in the leadership of right-wing parties and they more frequently vote for them,and this although the parties are promoting a very traditional, anti-progressive female role model in combination with (ultra-) conservative family policies and the curtailing of individual rights, sometimes even aiming at limiting female reproductive rights.
The question thus is: Why are women increasingly attracted by these parties and what can progressive parties learn from this development? The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung brings together a cross-section of representatives from parties, civil society organisations and academic experts from several European countries to discuss this question with participants during a Knowledge Café.
Chairman of the Social Democratic Students of Sweden
Nasra Ali is the Chairman of Social Democratic Students of Sweden (SSF). Between 2013–2016 she held the post of International Leader of SSF. She was also a member of the bureau of Young European Socialists (2014–2016) and Board Member (2015–2017) of the Olof Palme International Center. Recently she has been acting as a political advisor (2015–2017) for the Swedish Social Democratic Party in parliament representing the Stockholm region.
Policy advisor on Europe and Asia for Germany’s Social Democratic Party
Judith Althaus is a policy advisor on Europe and Asia for Germany’s Social Democratic Party (since 2013). During the 2017 elections, she coordinated the activities of prominent supporters of the campaign. She graduated with an MA in International Relations from Durham University, UK, in 2009 and previously worked for the German Foreign Ministry (2003-2008) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in East Jerusalem and Berlin (2009-2012).
Sociologist, Eötvös Lóránd Science University
Anikó Félix recently finished her MA in Minority Politics and is currently writing her dissertation on women’s role in far right movements and parties in a comparative way, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. During her studies she worked at the Maven Seven Network Research Company and participated in projects with political think thanks like Political Capital or Policy Solutions. Among other initiatives, she worked on several issues, e.g. the Roma population in Hungary, youth activism, holocaust education, and topics concerned with the effects of social media. At the moment, Anikó acts as the program manager of the Jewish Life and Antisemitism Program at the Tom Lantos Institute.
Secretary General for Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
Co-Founder of Mine the Gap
United States of America
Jessica Grounds is recognized as a thought leader in the space of women’s leadership. She is the Co-Founder of Mine The Gap, a consulting firm that equips leaders, industries, and organizations with the strategy and tools to create and sustain gender-inclusive workforces. She is also the Co-Founder Running Start, a U.S. based organization that has trained over 12,000 young women to run for elected office. Moreover, Jessica worked on behalf of Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential bid and leading up to the 2016 election as Director of Women Ready for Hillary. During her career, she galvanized investment in women's leadership from companies like Walmart, Facebook, Lockheed Martin & Deloitte, and has published cutting-edge research on gender differences in women leaders.
Associate Professor at Centre for Baltic and East European Studies
Member of Parliament
Senior lecturer of Political Science
Christèle Marchand-Lagier is researcher at the Avignon University in France and associate researcher at the Political Studies Institute of Aix en Provence. Specialist of electoral sociology, she is renomated for her 2017 analysis of National Front voters, Le vote FN pour une sociologie localisée des électorats frontistes, De Boeck supérieur. She also contributed to a collective book, Les faux-semblants du Front national. Sociologie d'un parti politique, Presses de Science Po. For several years, she has focused her research on increasing abstention among voters in France, specifically in Avignon. In order to determine whether the voting/non-voting behavior is linked to the economic and social situation, she works with geographers and IT specialists. Among others, she’s part of the collaborative research project called ALCoV (Analyses Localisées Comparatives du Vote: défiance, abstention et radicalisation politique dans la France contemporaine) led by Eric Agrikoliansky (Professor of Political Science at Paris-Dauphine University) from 2016 and until 2020.
Civil rights activist
United States of America
Carmen Perez’ most recent work is her role as the National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington, drew over 5 million people across the globe who marched in resistance of hatred and bigotry, affirming women of all identities’ rights as human beings. Carmen received the Justice, Peace, and Freedom Award at the 2016 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards and has been a featured speaker at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of California - Santa Cruz. In 2017 Carmen was named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders and one of TIME’s most influential people. She has dedicated 20 years to advocating for many of today's important civil rights issues, including mass incarceration, gender equity, violence prevention, racial healing and community policing.
Full Professor at Central European University
Andrea Petö studied history in Budapest and is currently a professor and researcher of gender history of political extremism and war. In her career, she has edited thirty volumes in English, Hungarian, and Russian, and her works have been translated into seventeen languages so far. She is author, with Ildikó Barna, of Political Justice in Budapest after WWII (2015) and co-editor, with Ayşe Gül Altınay, of Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories: Feminist Conversation on War, Genocide and Political Violence (2016). With regards to working with the European Commision of the EU, she is serving on the Advisory Board of Horizon2020 SC6. She also serves as an associate editor for The European Journal of Women’s Studies. In 2005, she was awarded the Officer’s Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary by the President of the Hungarian Republic.
Chief editor of Belltower News
Simone Rafael (1974) studied art history and journalism in Berlin. After working as a print and online journalist for several media in Berlin and Hamburg, she develops websites to counter far right extremism for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation since 2002. Since 2009, she is chief editor of www.Belltower.News – Network for digital civil society (formerly www.netz-gegen-nazis.de), the journalistic internet portal against Far Right extremism and group-focused enmities of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. Besides she develops ideas against Far right extremism and populism and form of hate on the Internet, for example campaigns, argumentation trainings and project work.
Sociologist, researcher at Panteion University
Alexandros Sakellariou (PhD on Sociology, Panteion University of Athens) works as a researcher at Panteion University. He has extensive experience in large scale EU projects from 2011 onwards working on young people’s socio-political engagement, young people’s well-being, young Greek’s emigration, young people people’s radicalization, and the evaluation of innovative social policies. He has also taught sociology at the Hellenic Open University (2016-2017) and a course on religious violence at Panteion University (2017). His scientific interests include, among others, sociology of religion, right-wing extremism, sociology of youth and qualitative research methods. He is a member of the Network of the Athens Friedrich Ebert Foundation against the far-right and a member of the Hellenic League for Human Rights.
Activist for Peace, Human Rights and Gender Equality
Fotini Sianou is an activist for peace, human rights and gender equality. She is an elected member and representative of trade unions in Greece and a member of the Board of the Research Centre for Gender Equality. Moreover, she acts as Vice President of the Women’s Political Association, participates in Watch for Women’s Rights and is President and Vice President of the Centre for Research and Action on Peace (KEDE). In 2002, she was shortlisted for the annual award for “Women of Europe” and is also a Greek Representative to the United Nations for Gender Equality. Fotini Sianou is a founding member of the Women’s Initiative for Peace (WINPEACE) between women in Greece, Turkey & Cyprus.
Sociologist, Corporate Relations Manager Poland at the Albert Schweitzer Foundation
Karolina Skowron is a graduate of sociology at the London School of Economics and is currently finishing her MA in Global Diplomacy at SOAS, London. She is a left-wing politician focusing mainly on animal rights and women’s rights, combining the two in her role as an activist. By profession she acts as the Corporate Relations Manager Poland at the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, where she promotes animals’ welfare with a specific focus on laying hens. Moreover, she is involved in numerous feminist organizations, currently most active in the „Save the women“-committee, which is now collecting signatures for its legislative proposal regarding reproductive rights. Apart from everything else, she is a member of the effective altruism community.
Elena Zacharenko is a policy expert with several years of experience influencing EU policy in the areas of human rights and development through organisations such as Amnesty International and Marie Stopes International. Her areas of interest include sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and women’s rights. She authored a study on the anti-choice mobilisation in Europe and its influence on EU policy making, which was released in January 2017.