Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Tatiana Kostadinova

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Barry Levitt

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Jin Zeng

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Milena Neshkova

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


gender, father's leave, domestic violence, post-communist, parties, movements, NGOs

Date of Defense



The dissertation investigates why variation exists in gender policies that challenge traditional power hierarchies across central and eastern European (CEE) countries and the role of political parties in this process. I first ask how gender issues get onto party agendas and then test whether parties in government that have campaigned on gender issues ultimately deliver on their promises. I examine three policy domains, marginally affected by the EU and international "soft" norms, affirmative action in the labor market, father's leave, and anti-domestic violence policies.

I argue that parties are least responsive when it comes to altering gender power hierarchies at the intimate level due to the post-totalitarian legacy, fluid nature of intimate relations, and absent history of regulation of this sphere by liberal states. They are most responsive when enacting policies in the public sphere.

My argument rests on original empirical data of party statements on gender issues in eight post-communist democracies during 1990-2015 years collected through human content analysis. This data collection has resulted in the database of CEE party positions on gender issues with over 2,000 pieces of data. Using multivariate regression analysis, I later use these data to I test whether parties deliver on their promises and what role movements play.

My findings suggest that CEE parties not only fulfill their electoral mandates on policy issues that are located in public (affirmative action in the labor market) and semi-private space (father's leave), they also conceive of these mandates broadly. Yet, when the issue belongs within intimate space of human relations, such as domestic violence, governing parties require the presence of strong feminist movements in order to fulfill promises.




Previously Published In

Affirmative gender equality policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Moving beyond the E.U. requirements, Party Politics



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).