In their piece, “Boys Must be Boys: Gender and the Serbian Radical Party, 1991–2000,” scholars and researchers Jill A. Irvine and Carol S. Lilly focus on the conservative actions and beliefs of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and how they explain gender politics in the region—both by paradoxically encouraging anti-feminist sentiment and also granting women working for the SRS party positions of power [1]. The article begins with an examination of “political nostalgia” and its complex ability to enforce traditional, communal roles and identities, which innately includes the subjugation of women into subservient, quiet roles [2]. The authors argue that this promotion of political nostalgia gave (and gives) the Serbian Radical Party unique leverage in advocating for unjust and unequal practices [3]. The text gives historical context to gender inequality in former Yugoslavia and the ideologies that sustain sexism in the Balkan to this day [4]. The authors mainly use discourse analysis as their methodological approach to their research, citing interviews and speeches from people like SRS founder Vojislav Seselj, while also citing news paper articles, like those from Velika Srbija, during the time of SRS prosperity [5].

The piece “Evaluation of Gender Disparities From the Balkan Countries” by Daniel Tudora, Alexandru Banica, and Marinela Istrate takes a quite different methodological approach to a broader theme of Balkan sexism, as opposed to the previous piece, but still provides a lot of context into the formation of conditions for women in the region. The authors introduce their topic of gender disparity evaluation by establishing their own place in the conversation. They claim that traditional gender indicators–Gender-Related Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure–are not adaptable to the “territorial context of the problem” [6]. Therefore, Tudora, Banica, and Istrate enter the conversation with the claim that the Balkans should be tested with several different indicators–cultural stereotypes, reproductive health, unemployment, longevity–and factor analyzed to truly understand the puzzle of Balkan gender disparity evolution [7]. In the authors’ words, “Composing a final indicator of gender inequality will take into account the correlation matrix of the five variables entered in the analysis, so that by using the factorial analysis method will eliminate the redundancy between primary variables and by factors association shall identify social, economic or cultural elements affecting most obviously the Gender Equality in the Balkan Peninsula” [8] The authors highlight the variables that go into forming perpetual trends of inequality in Balkan culture, from territorial set up, to traditional Yugoslav attitudes towards women, to socioeconomic disparity, all of which will help give me the overview on Balkan gender inequality I need to have a solid foundation for my paper. Serving as a kind of concept formation piece rather than the explanatory scholarship, this piece serves as the basic point from which my understanding of the topic can really move forward because it has educated me on a most fundamental level—what does sexism in the Balkan region really look like, in what social spheres or institutions does it manifest itself, and what do those realities mean for Balkan women in contemporary history.

These two sources both aim to explain or engage with Balkan gender disparity evolution, though through different approaches and on different levels. The first article by Irvine and Lilly examines, through much discourse analysis, a very particular force in contemporary Serbian politics–the SRS–and sort of points the party’s unique garnering of political nostalgia as a driving force of gender identity evolution in the region. The second article, however, zooms out of that particular politically nationalistic factor, and takes a factor analysis approach to firstly, identify measurable factors of gender disparity in the Balkans, and then consequently measure where can these measures be seen in the region, where are they seen the most, and if/how they reveal themselves. I believe the “Boys Must be Boys” piece would be great scholarship to include in my research, by pointing to tangible conclusions about a historically prominent (and enduring) masculinized, nationalistic party in Serbia and its forging of gender disparity. The second piece, as previously stated, I believe will serve as a kind of concept formation piece rather than the explanatory scholarship, informing me of vital background to understanding the broader regional evolution of gender identity and disparity.


[1] Jill A. Irvine and Carol S. Lilly. “Boys Must be Boys: Gender and the Serbian Radical Party, 1991-2000,” Nationalities Papers 35, no. 1 (March 2007), 94.

[2] Ibid, 96.

[3] Ibid, 94.

[4] Ibid, 112.

[5] Ibid, 94 and 107.

[6] Daniel Tudora, Alexandru Banica, and Marinela Istrate. “Evaluation of Gender Disparities from the Balkan Countries,” Procedia Economics and Finance 20, (2015), 654.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid, 656.