The project aims to analyze European state security responses to political violence targeting women (PVTW) in order to fulfill the following objectives: (1) identifying precisely the political contexts in which the violence occurred; (2) examining how relationships between empirical data on PVTW rates and the determined sources of violence function as indicators of greater trends of domestic violent extremism in specific countries. As applied to Greece, Romania, and Ukraine as national case studies and as subjects for comparative analysis, the fulfillment of these objectives within this project offers promise in developing more effective responses to PVTW and in assessing political systems across a vital security region.
The project orients itself around the following research question: How do state security forces in Greece, Romania, and Ukraine respond to and mitigate politically violent events targeting women? From this core question, important sub-questions follow that reflect the particular regional focus of the project. For example, does European Union (EU) membership have a demonstrable effect on how the violence is responded to? Does a previous legacy of illiberalism impact the current structures of state security institutions? Does a given state’s security response vary depending on who the perpetrators are?
These research questions respond to the recent rise in domestic extremism among citizens and polarized political parties within liberal democracies (Byman, 2018). This trend has led to the election of “radical right populist” political leaders with authoritarian agendas, the increase of political protests both peaceful and not, and, in some instances, the increase of political violence (Weinberg and Assoudeh, 2018). Among other aspects, these extremist beliefs typically reinforce gendered hierarchical orders, suppress the overall advancement of women and minorities, and promote nationalistic aggression (Weinberg and Assoudeh, 2018). The lasting impact of the movements remains to be seen, but democratic world leaders and global governance institutions are vocal about the risks of greater national and regional destabilization from current trends of democratic backsliding (Meyerrose, 2020).
Previously, policy and scholarly attention has largely been given to authoritarian regimes and political violence in countries that are already entrenched in conflict or understood as “post-conflict” (Krause, 2019). However, focus is shifting towards the occurrence of “homegrown” political extremism and its impact on national security within liberal democracies (McAlexander, 2019). With the increase of political violence, women as specific targets of political violence is also increasing (Palickova, 2019). From 2018-2019, there were over 4,000 politically violent events recorded worldwide that targeted women, with armed attacks accounting for half of the events and another one third were harms of sexual nature (ACLED, 2019). As this trend, political violence targeting women, has only very recently begun being quantified, little analysis exists on how political violence targeting women is being mitigated by national security measures in liberal democracies. Within Europe, most democratic countries have adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, affirming their commitment to gender security and recognizing the disproportionate impact of armed conflict on women and girls (United Nations Development Fund for Women, 2021). However, this research project is most interested in understanding whether threats to gender security, through the instances of political violence targeting women, is not only important to mitigate for the sake of the livelihood of women and girls, but can also be potentially indicative of greater threats to national and regional security posed by domestic violent extremists.
By incorporating empirical data recording politically violent events that target women in Romania, Greece, and Ukraine, countries that have all committed to upholding UNSCR 1325 and also have geographic security importance for Europe (Petersen, 2004), the project analyzes the political environments in which this type of violence occurs and the subsequent state security responses. By mapping the differing rates of PVTW, the project sheds light on both longstanding and emerging extremist security challenges in Europe’s eastern and southeastern perimeter, challenges that would otherwise be missed due to the lack of a gendered lens in state security institutions and practices.
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04/2021 Aufnahme in die Graduate School of Politics (GraSP), Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. Masterstudium International Development an der University of Bristol Bachelorstudium Politikwissenschaft an der Southwestern University
Seit 08/2019 Program Lead, Political Violence Targeting Women am Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The University of Texas 04/2017-08/2019 Assistant Director am Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The University of Texas 03/2015-04/2017 Program Manager am Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The University of Texas 10/2013-12/2014 Campaign Manager bei Diane Henson for Chief Justice of the Third Court of Appeals 12/2012-09/2013 Fellow, Training & Outreach bei The Atlas Project 08/2012-11/2012 Field Manager bei Elizabeth Warren for United States Senate
- National security
- International security
- Domestic extremism
- Gender security
- Democratic governance
- Mentor und Mitglied, Women's Foreign Policy Group
- Arbeitsgruppenmitglied, CNA Corporation
- Alumna, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
- Mitglied, Women In International Security Brussels