far-right observer

Why Do European Women Vote For Far-right Parties?

Far-right protesters demanding to stop migration in order to keep women safe and keep their rights in Dresden, Germany. Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

In the past decade in elections all over Europe, the proportion of far-right parties has increased enormously. Parties like the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany or the Rassemblement National in France whose values are strongly racist, xenophobic, and anti-feminist experienced unprecedented popularity. Some of these parties were founded only in the past decade and some others like the Front National have a long history in European politics. Something that has changed strikingly is that not only men are actively part of parties with the values that were mentioned above but that the proportion of women as active members and in leading positions of far-right parties has increased extremely.

There have always been far-right parties and it is crucial to say that gender does not justify supporting far-right parties but since it is very striking that the amount of European women supporting far-right parties increases more and more, it appeared important to me to research and analyse European women in the far-right and their intentions behind their voting behaviour. Not only did I as a woman find it crucial to do so but I noticed in my previous work done that, at least the literature I used was mostly research done by women with similar intentions.

Reasons for a shift in women’s voting behaviour

A lot of scholars and academic writers consider the outbreak of the Arab Spring at the end of 2010 and the following humanitarian crisis happening in the Mediterranean Sea as a major reason behind why many Europeans started to vote for far-right parties. Most people that had to leave their countries due to wars and humanitarian crises, came from countries with a different cultural and religious background than the ones that are mostly represented in Europe. The European far-right parties such as the Alternative für Deutschland have publicly spoken out against welcoming refugees. Part of their programmes was protecting women from harm that’s caused by male immigrants with different values and understanding of equality.

Marine Le Pen during her presidential campaign in 2017. Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

Scholars are convinced that this is one significant reason for women to shift their voting behaviour since it was a huge topic that the people migrating to Europe support other values and have a different understanding of equality. While far-right parties spread that migrants fleeing from the happenings of the Arab Spring have a different understanding of equality and oppress women, it is controversial that at the same time of spreading those assumptions about different values and understandings, those parties also have very conservative and hetero normative views on women and their duties.

Another significant pattern scholars have found that should be mentioned is that women who vote for far-right parties say about themselves that they were born into those political views and directions and tend to come from conservative families. Conservative is a wide phrase but in this case, it refers to families that support the hetero normative family module. Some scholars basically argued and found out that there are women who vote for far-right parties because it simply just happened to them by being born into conservative and far-right parties rather than actually being ideologically convicted.

The Example: Marine Le Pen

This can for example also be seen in the Le Pen family in France. The Rassemblement National, which was known for decades as Front National in France was among others founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen. His daughter Marine Le Pen who took over the leadership of the party in 2017 was born into those far-right views due to the fact that her father co-founded the far-right party Front National in the 1970s. This does not justify her political views and actions but it is an example and evidence for the arguments of scholars.

Based on the research I have done it is noticeable that far-right parties address women with a traditionally conservative background that promote hetero normative family models. Because of those conservative values, it can be concluded that women with familiar predispositions tend to be less open to welcoming people with different cultural and religious backgrounds. The understanding of equality is also a significant reason for women to shift to far-right parties. The issue, in this case, is that even though equality is quite simple to understand namely that no matter the gender, ethnic background or sexuality everyone deserves the same rights, there are still different understandings in societies and cultures around the world. A person in a western European far-right party lays it out differently than, people that come from societies outside of Europe and myself as a left white western European woman lays it out differently again.

By actively educating about foreign cultures, religions, past historical happenings, as well as equality between all genders, and using media platforms wisely and not spreading fake news I am convinced that it could have been possible to avoid the rise of far-rise parties in the past decade. It is the task of governments to bring societies with different cultures peacefully together and actively integrate to prevent divisions in society.

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20 thoughts on “Why Do European Women Vote For Far-right Parties?

  1. We can see that this just a draft. However, we still have some thoughts to improve your work. Think about adding at least two pictures. Moreover, since the title is quite vague it would be better if you specify to what it refers to voters or political figures. We do not know if you were planning to do this, nevertheless, we suggest to give some European examples. And don’t forget hyperlinks.

    1. Hi, thank you for your feedback. I will definitely add pictures and hyperlinks to connect it to the work of my colleagues and other academic articles. I appreciate your helpful feedback!

      1. We appreciate that you added hyperlinks to your work and are excited to see pictures you will add later on. We further suggest shortening the paragraphs, maybe adding subheadings. Let us know if you need any clarification!

  2. Very nice draft, well done! We found your topic of research really interesting, and we are thus pretty curious to discover all your findings. The paragraph in which you underlined the paradox of far-right parties combatting conservative views on women is highly relevant! Although the overall language level is pretty good, we still consider that some sentences can be written in a better way. As we objected to some of your colleagues, the first letters of the words in your title should be capitalized. Also, a rather small detail, the ‘Front National’ is now called the ‘Rassemblement National’ (the name changed in 2018).

    1. Hi. Thank you for your feedback. You are indeed right about the change of the name of the Front National. I´m glad you reminded me and I changed it now!

      1. We are very glad and pleased to see that you applied all our recommendations! Even if your initial version was already well-written and enjoyable, your final post is even better. Good luck with the completion of your blog!

  3. Hi! We enjoyed reading this draft of your blog! I, myself, am researching a similar topic and completely agree that it is highly relevant. We like the fact that you elaborate on the significance and reason for choosing this topic in the beginning of your blog! However, maybe it would be nice to explain a bit more how other literature being written by mostly female scholars relates to you choosing this topic. Is it because of this that you were more motivated? Personally, I noticed this too, but found, on the contrary, that it would be interesting to see more male colleagues write about this topic, to create an even more diverse base of researchers addressing the role of women. In a way it is maybe a bit ironic or conservative that only female scholars tend to write about the roles of women and male scholars do not seem ‘as interested’. Never mind this, it was just a thought and I am curious to hear your opinion on the matter! Apart from this, we have a few smaller suggestions to improve the draft, although we truly think it is already very promising. In the third paragraph, there is a bit of repetition, so maybe take a look at that. Furthermore, as stated by others, it would be nice to include some pictures! Finally, we enjoyed reading the last paragraph on feminism! We think it is interesting that you address the misconception about its meaning. We are looking forward to reading your finalized blog entry! Good luck!

    1. Hi: Thank you for your advice and I appreciate that you took so much time to give useful feedback. It is interesting to see your view on this highly relevant topic and I will consider including the thoughts you shared. I am looking forward to hearing what you think about my final post.

      1. Hi! We are glad to hear the feedback was useful. Furthermore, we want to congratulate you on this new, edited version of your blog. The visuals are great and we specifically like how you concluded the blog by showing the relevance and contributing to the field!

  4. This is still a draft but already very interesting. However, there are a few things that could still be improved. Like adding in pictures, this makes the blog more visually appealing. Furthermore, the use of headings will make the post look more structured and when using captivating headings, this will make the reader more interested to read further. Overall, good draft, interesting topic.

    1. Hi. Thank you for your advice and I am glad that you enjoyed it so far. I added some pictures now and will definitely consider putting more headings.

  5. I really enjoy the introduction to your post. Especially how you not only explain the relevance of the topic but also how you personally decided that you wanted to research this. The rest of the contents follow a clear line and explain the discussion well. However, I do agree with previous comments that sub-headings or titles would improve the structure of the post and increase the readability of the post overall.

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