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This paper examines the characteristics of past and contemporary feminisms and dissects the issues with periodizing feminism in terms of “waves”. Part two focuses on understanding the most recent wave of feminist activism by considering its antecedents and main characteristics. It presents three case studies of movements in the Global South; the cases of Brazil, India, and Malawi illustrate some of the ideas, campaigns, and organizational forms of “new feminists”.

In this paper, we propose a conceptual framework to discuss two interrelated realms: backsliding on gender equality policies and the emerging political space for feminist responses to this backsliding. We illustrate our framework with empirical observations from three Central and Eastern European countries: Croatia, Hungary, and Poland. We aim to contribute to an understanding of the gendered aspects of de-democratization and the functioning of illiberal democracies.