New articles in the encyclopedia EHNE
Feminisms and Feminist Movements in Europe, by Anne-Laure Briatte
The feminist sensibility long preceded movements of the same name. During the first half of the nineteenth century, feminist ideas were essentially driven by individuals, both women and men, with the first feminist movements forming in Europe only in the mid-nineteenth century. These movements first and foremost advocated for women’s right to pursue an education and freely exercise their talents, notably in the form of a paid activity and participation in public affairs. While these movements were mostly organized in the framework of nation states, they were very early on structured on the international scale as well. However, nationalism and the two world wars of the twentieth century tested the internationalism they laid claim to. During the 1970s and 1980s a new and important moment emerged for feminist movements, which now aspired to women’s liberation on both the material and cultural levels. With globalization favouring transnational links, feminists today act within more or less institutional frameworks on various levels, ranging from the local to the transnational.
The feminization of European political personnel and parity in Europe, by Stéphane Michon
In Europe and elsewhere, women were for a long time excluded from political positions. The majority of European states granted women the right to vote and run for office only after the First World War, with this right being obtained even later in certain countries. For all that, the right to run for office was not accompanied by a massive presence of women in the political field. While a feminization of political classes has been underway in recent decades—in connection with mobilizations for parity and the establishment of binding quotas for parties and electoral rules—it remains highly variable in Europe, being more effective in Northern European countries, parties on the left, and for the least prestigious offices. The political field still remains more of a male world.
Islam and Gender in Europe, by Fabio Giomi
Europe is today home to major Muslim populations because of a modern history in which the Ottoman presence over a part of the continent was accompanied by colonial domination of European powers, with its subsequent effects on economic migrations. Here we will examine three aspects of the relation between gender, Islam, and Europe. First, we will concentrate on the systems of representation built by European cultural elites with respect to Muslims, as well as their variation according to class, race, and gender. Second, we will broach the policies of nation states toward their Muslim populations, which have fluctuated between assimilation and stigmatization depending on the period and location, in addition to the responses of Muslim elites who juggled between religion-based community building and integration within broader national communities. Finally, we will concentrate on the ability to act of Europe’s Muslims, which is reflected in the variety of their gender discourses and practices.
Unions and nonmarital births, by Sandra Brée
Until the mid-eighteenth century, nonmarital procreation was still a marginal form of behavior, even though it was accepted in certain European countries as the possible consequence of the ritual of premarital seduction. These births, which were called “illegitimate” or “natural” at the time, later increased as Europe became industrialized and urbanized. It was indeed in cities, far from the social, familial, and religious control of the countryside, that nonmarital births were the most frequent, resulting from relations of shorter or longer duration, or more dramatic circumstances such as prostitution or rape. After a rise in nonmarital births during the two world wars, their number increased sharply beginning in the 1970s in particular. Marriage stopped being a norm, and an increasing number of couples cohabited and had children without marrying. Today nearly 45% of European children are born out of wedlock.
The gendered body in Europe: between constraint and emancipation, by Amandine Malivin
The fruit of both a social and cultural context, the body is permanently under the yoke of normative representations and discourses. Simultaneoulsy relating to the biological, social, and the intimate, it is a mediator between an individual and society. It personifies the individual, and is controled by social norms that govern its appearance and attitude. For a long time, it was accepted that one could only be a man or a woman, and that this binary was also reflected in the body, appearance, and social behavior. Any circumvention of the norm was disapproved of as a manifestation of sexual, cultural, or racial alterity. The gendered body is therefore an object of manipulation that serves strategies for excluding or dominating certain categories of people (non-Europeans, women, homosexuals), or on the contrary carries within it calls for a person’s equality and rights. Binary gender classification has been called into question today, in a society that struggles to recognize the difference.
The History of Fatherhood during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, by Peter Hallama
The major transformation of fatherhood in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was from the all-powerful pater familias to the “new father” involved with his children. In the name of the child’s interest, the state began to compete with fathers and to weaken their position. The separation of the workplace and place of residence resulting from industrialization, as well as the emergence of a romantic vision of maternity, contributed to distancing fathers from the family sphere. It took until the 1960s and 1970s for a new type of father to appear, in a context marked by the feminist movement and the decline of the “military-virile” model. Fatherhood was reevaluated from the perspective of equality, as demonstrated by the replacement of paternal authority by parental authority, and the introduction of paternity leave. Finally, developments such as gay fatherhood and single fathers show that the multiplication of family forms also affects fathers.
Also on the website, in french :
Les violences sexuelles en temps de guerre, par Fabrice Virgili
Le genre dans la littérature pour enfants en Europe, par Sophie Heywood
Les États-providence européens et la question du genre, par Nadine Lefaucheur
Genre et bouleversements du judaïsme européen, par Béatrice de Gasquet
Libération sexuelle et révolutions sexuelles, par Alain Giami