UNTWIST: Policy recommendations to regain 'feminism losers' as mainstream voters

Horizon Europe - Feminisms for a new age of democracy
2023 - 2026
Project leader (on behalf on CSS): Katalin Tardos 

Project Participants: Judit Acsády, Lídia Balogh, Anna Ujlaki, Veronika Paksi, Alexandra Sipos

UNTWIST aims to promote gender equality as a core value of the EU, defending it from the emerging threat that the gender rhetoric from extreme populist parties represents. By developing policy recommendations that uphold gender equality as both a value and a way of life, the project will contribute to shaping the global future, thus fulfilling relevant objectives in the EU’s political agenda for the period 2019–2024. By understanding if extreme populist parties are acting as niche parties, substantively representing (but also twisting) the needs and demands of citizens “at the margins”, who feel abandoned or disempowered by current mainstream feminist discourses and policies, it will co-create alternative ways of addressing those citizens. Thus, developing, and implementing new policies that can counter gender-equality-repressive strategies and the policies of extreme populist parties. Representative democracies will consequently be reinvigorated, and the citizenship empowered, by a better safeguarding of gender equality. UNTWIST’s main working strategy toward that end will consist of empowering (non-radical/populist) parties in Europe to improve their representation of the gender-based interests of the citizenry with evidence-based policy recommendations that: 1) help mainstream parties improve their substantive representation of sex- and gender-based needs and demands in ways that diminish the appeal of extreme populist messages (untwisting gender messages, particularly from right-wing populism); and 2) contributes to the widening horizon of gender expectations and overcomes current “gender fatigue” among citizens.