The Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention was created as a tool to promote women’s substantial equality. By the beginning of 2020, all EU member states have signed, but seven of them have not ratified yet the convention. One of the seven states is (was) the UK, the others are post-socialist countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia. The paper focuses on the political discourse in the latter six countries, when attempting to find answer to the question: what have been the key elements of the argumentations against the ratification of the Convention? Similar discourses were present in some other CEE countries as well, notably in Poland and Croatia, where the Conventions have been ratified meanwhile. Moreover, the “anti-gender” political agenda, that perceives the Istanbul Convention as a threat to the social ordes, cannot be considered as specific to CEE-countries, as it has been widely promoted in many Western European countries from the mid-2010s.
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