Our visiting researcher Mariia Tepliakova speaks about working with EUGenDem

Mariia Tepliakova visited EUGenDem and the University of Helsinki from April to May 2023. We had the pleasure to interview her.

Mariia Tepliakova is a PhD candidate from the Center for European Union Studies (SCEUS) at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg in Austria. She is part of the “Challenges to European Integration”, a project co-funded by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF).

For more information on Mariia, follow this link.

Mariia, thank you for taking part in this interview. What is your favourite activity in Helsinki?

Thank you for having me! My favourite activity in Helsinki is the sauna: I love how accessible it is. There is one in my dorm, at the office and in every city district.

What are your thoughts on the EUGenDem project and our study of the European Parliament’s political groups?

The European Parliament is so well-researched now that even finding gaps for further research projects has become hard. Thanks to the EUGenDem project, we know so much about gender and how it affects policymaking in the Parliament. The team’s research output has been super extensive, or as other scholars have put it: EUGenDem ate and left no crumbs.

I also admire the work-life balance of the EUGenDem team. I think it contributes to the fantastic quality and amount of the research output. It is incredible how, despite lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, the international team has come up with this many publications.

What are your research plans for your research visit here in Helsinki?

My visit to the University of Helsinki consists of working on a paper dealing with the development of European care strategy in childcare and the healthcare provision of the EU. EUGenDem’s expertise in gendered policymaking has been very helpful as I developed my future paper’s first draft. I came with the help of expert opinions. In a way, the visit for me is a writing retreat.

How does EUGenDem relate to your research?

The unique yet interdisciplinary expertise of the EUGenDem was the inspiration behind my visit. I am very interested in the development of gender equality policies in the EU ad how the approaches and narratives around them have changed over time. However, I found researching the policy or law-making and the dynamic of the Union’s institutions a bit intimidating. As the EUGenDem team made working on this level of EU politics more accessible for qualitative research, I was very interested in their opinion and perspective on my project.

We also have specialists at home who work with gender policies, as well as fantastic EU scholars, but their research interests rarely overlap. My supervisor, Jessica Fortin-Rittberger, recommended EUGenDem to help me bridge the gap between these two fields, and so far, the visit has been incredibly helpful to my dissertation work.

How do you like it so far?

It’s great! The team members are very involved and nice. The team’s work-life structure is something to look up to and apply back home. I was pleasantly surprised to receive working tools such as a laptop from the University for my short stay in Helsinki. Overall, the conditions are impressive.

What have been the highlights of your research visit? 

The Eurovision party hosted by the Center of European Studies last Friday is definitely one!

Many EU studies departments in Europe have serious topics such as research on taxation, extreme right-wing actors, or populism. We are conditioned to think that this matters for social scientists, and it does, but there are also aspects of society that are ignored in research because they are not deemed essential but impact how we function and live.

The panel discussion at the party relating to Eurovision and its political ramifications was one of the highlights of my stay. I have a background in media studies which made it even more enjoyable to hear the panelists discuss the broadcasting union and the case of Australia participating. I think it’s important to broaden the research horizon from time to time.

Another highlight has been the research seminars. It was my first time attending a seminar where the presenters did not have slides. Instead, they got their feedback based on the reading by the commentators, which is very helpful at later stages, right before journal submissions.

What are you looking forward to?

The Conference on European Politics, Equality, and Democracy on 25-26 May 2023, 

It’s a huge opportunity to participate in the Conference with fantastic gender scholars. I will be starstruck by how many unique wonderful people will be here. I’m also looking forward to the atmosphere and discussions. Gender scholars give the best kind of constructive sandwich-style feedback.

Who is going to win the Eurovision 2023?

The Czech submission is my favourite so far. Feminist submissions are not usually the public’s favourite. The mix of Eastern European women creates a sisterhood where I feel represented, and I also like how they have added Slavic folklore into the show. We are witnessing a change where it is becoming cool to perform in a native language, making Eurovision songs more authentic and unique.

Any final words?

I wish I could stay longer to learn some Finnish. It seems like a very unique language. Johanna Kantola taught me “Kiitos” on my first day, but I would like to learn more.

The interview took place on the 10th of May at the University of Helsinki.

EU-Ukraine Relations and Gender Equality

By: Liliia Antoniuk, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki

On 25-26 May 2023, the European Politics, Equality, and Democracy” conference organized by the EUGenDem project will take place in Helsinki, Finland. One of its panel discussions addresses the issue of gender equality in Ukraine in the context of European integration. Thus, this blog aims to provide a broader perspective on the issue and to explain the contextual background.


Read the full text by Liliia Antoniuk here

Seminar on Researching the European Union:  Regulating the digital economy in the EU 

Centre for European Studies (CES) and Erik Castrén Institute (ECI), University of Helsinki

When? 11 May 2023, 10.00-11.30 

Where? Location: Unioninkatu 33, Meeting room: 247 

Regulating the digital economy in the EU 

We are delighted to welcome you to the fourth Seminar on Researching the European Union. The two talks focus on regulating the digital economy in the European Union. The aim of the seminar series is to present and debate recent research on the EU coming from the University of Helsinki and beyond. The seminar series continues in the autumn of 2023, stay tuned!

Chair: Johanna Kantola (University of Helsinki)


Sam Wrigley, Miikka Hiltunen, and Päivi Leino-Sandberg (University of Helsinki): “My name is personalised_political_advertiser.py and I approve this message”: Regulating automated and targeted political adverting in EU law  

Matti Ylönenand Maija Mattila (University of Helsinki): “Big tech and the EU: Mapping the advocacy strategies of gatekeeper companies in Brussels

Dr. Valentine Berthet publishes a Policy Study in collaboration with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies

EUGenDem postdoctoral researcher Dr. Valentine Berthet recently published a Policy Study translating the findings of her doctoral dissertation into policy recommendations. This work was done in collaboration with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Fondation Jean Jaurès. 

The aim of this policy study is to provide an account on the most advanced and recent developments of policies about gendered violence in the European Parliament (EP). Today’s context is shaped by the backlash of anti-gender movements and the rise of right-wing populist actors in the EU and the EP, affecting the legitimacy of these institutions altogether. As a result, gender equality is now a highly contested policy field in the EP, and it matters to understand the reasons for these contestations and to develop better strategies to tackle the backlash. This policy study offers an extensive overview of the latest policy developments related to gendered violence, not only in terms of policy outcomes but also in terms of how gender equality as a norm is debated. It focuses on the EU’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention, the development of a supranational right to abortion in the EU and sexual harassment issues within the EP. Taken together, they showcase the necessity to prioritise the field in decision-making but also the importance of remaining attentive to both everyday practices in the Parliament and to dynamics within and between its political groups in relation to gender equality issues. 

Analysing discourses around these three issues shows the forms of resistance and stresses the counterstrategies needed to advance gender equality objectives. The effort of analysing the ins and outs of different discourses is important to better understand what is at stake when gender equality advances, stagnates or declines in Europe. Via discourses, political actors attribute meanings and solutions to social problems – in other words, they set their political agendas. Thus, politics is the exercise of defining and defending one’s own account in discursive battles with political opponents.  Against this background, it is possible to assess the knowledge produced by political actors and expose their contradictions, nuances, and silences vis-à-vis an issue. In relation to gender equality, the analysis of discourses shed lights on the processes that either maintain, challenge, or transform all sorts of inequalities.  

The Policy Study shows that the EP is still not supporting gender equality unanimously. Rather, it is composed of different political groups that hold different political views on if and how gender equality should be achieved in the EU. The groups are themselves heterogeneous as they present internal contradictions, mostly between different national party delegations. While the European Parliament projects itself as a defender of equality norms, it must remain attentive to its own unequal institutional practices (e.g., in relation to gender equality and anti-racism) and must tackle the oppositions to equality measures, including subtle ones. Eventually, the achievement of gender equality in the European Parliament and its political groups requires coordinated efforts, which include decision-making strategies and a review of their own internal measures. 

Key recommendations include: 

  • Adopting both the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and the 2022 Directive proposal on violence against women and domestic violence as the two texts complement each other. 
  • Adopting measures safeguarding abortion rights in the EU are part of the EP’s democratic role. Even if non-binding, their symbolic role is important as they set broad guiding principles and are then referred to as grounds for future binding and non-binding policies. 
  • The European Parliament and its political groups must establish a comprehensive legal framework with a clear message that violence is unacceptable and that provides adequate support on how to report such violence. Active and informed leadership is key to combat a culture of impunity and foster a good and healthy working environment.  
  • Tackling the opposition to gender equality in policymaking requires a coordinated effort, such as fostering formal alliances across political groups and committees. Political groups are encouraged to self-identify and self-assess which forms of opposition prevail internally and to develop formal measures that work accordingly.  
  • Finally, equality must be upheld as a non-negotiable democratic value in the EU wherever possible, even if only in debates and non-binding measures because they create an environment in which gender equality is protected.   

For the English version see this link

For the French version see this link