Who is afraid of gender?

Analysis of the key narratives and strategies of the anti-gender movement in Republic of North Macedonia

Towards the end of 2020, several groups advocating against gender sensitive education and the introduction of sexual education, integral to the analysis, became vocal in public discussions on the new Primary Education Concept. The arguments put forward involved, for the first time, terms like “gender ideology” and “gender indoctrination,” as a point of mobilization in the Macedonian
context. Although the Concept remained unaltered, the groups continued advocating against the reforms voiced by women’s/feminists and LGBTIQ organizations regarding several laws and policies, (such as the Law on Textbooks and Other Teaching and Didactic Materials and the Law on Civil Registry) resulting with no amendments to date. The mobilization of the groups occurred relatively swiftly. In almost no time, anti-gender social network channels published, on a daily basis, texts and messages targeting not only concepts and the struggle for gender equality and LGBTIQ rights but rather human rights activists as well, such
as Irena Cvetkovic, a co-author of the analysis, and civil society organizations such as the Coalition Margins, the publisher of this publication. At that point we decided to pay close attention to these
groups and research the strategies and narratives employed, bearing in mind that the subject of the analysis is an integral part of our lived and embodied experience. However, the goal is not to expose
or mock these organizations but rather to better understand them and gain knowledge towards: human rights promotion for everyone and identifying how to oppose the hegemonic framing
strategies, representation and discursive construction of women and sexual and gender minorities proposed by anti-gender movements. It is our hope that the analysis will strengthen the mobilization
for gender equality promotion and human rights respect for all individuals in society.