Women's, gender and feminist studies in Portugal: researchers’ resilience vs institutional resistance

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This paper presents an overview of Women's, Gender and Feminist Studies in Portugal, focusing on gender and feminist geographies. Although there is a solid, diversified and mature corpus of feminist reflection in the Portuguese academia, there is a lack of institutional recognition with very few Women's, Gender and Feminist Studies formally organized in curricula or academic degrees. There have been, and still are, many resistances to a formal recognition of Women's, Gender and Feminist Studies as a scientific domain and Portugal is lagging behind in this area. The first and only scientific research centre entirely dedicated to Gender Studies was only created in 2012. The long period of dictatorship that Portugal endured for over 40 years in the past century, has had a major influence in the Portuguese society, preventing social movements, as the second wave feminism, to foster social change in the academia. The current debates at the present time in Portugal concern the widespread use of the concept of gender without an effective epistemological and methodological paradigm shift, and some researchers question the erasure of the word ‘women’ that is being almost always replaced by the word ‘gender’. In this area of study, the intersections of activism and academia in Portugal are noteworthy, and there is a positive contamination that comes through the contact with the feminist empowering movements. The Portuguese researchers’ resilience has proven to overcome the lack of support, both institutional and financial, making it possible to advance Women's, Gender and Feminist Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1232
Number of pages10
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number7-9
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019


  • Activism and academia
  • feminist studies
  • gender
  • institutional resistance
  • Portugal
  • resilience


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