Tip Sheets

New European ‘strongmen’ are women, gender where similarities end

Media Contact

Abby Kozlowski

As the European Union (EU) prepares to vote for the next members of the European Parliament, experts anticipate significant gains for the far-right, populist parties.

Mabel Berezin

Professor of Sociology at Cornell University

Mabel Berezin is a professor of sociology whose work explores challenges to democratic cohesion and solidarity in Europe and the United States. She highlights the prominent women leading the right in the upcoming EU elections.

Berezin says:

“Pundits and scholars expect the right to sweep the upcoming European Parliamentary elections. 

“What has been less remarked upon is the prominence of women in these elections. Italy’s Giorgia Meloni and France’s Marine Le Pen will vie to lead the coalition of the right in Parliament. Their common governance will not be easy. Le Pen views herself and her party as challengers. Meloni saves her conservative cultural and social politics for Italy. Both women are undisputed leaders in their respective countries. They have a different view of how to interact with the EU.

“If she manages to squeak through and be reelected, Ursula von der Leyen will continue serving as the president of the European Commission. She will be the chief mediator between the center right and right forces.

“In Italy, France and Germany – the new European ‘strongmen’ are women, but gender may be where the similarities end.”

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