Short Portrait

You can find more information and a full academic CV here:

I joined the Institute of Political Science in October 2022. I am also affiliated with ZOiS - the Berlin-based Centre for East European and international studies. As a comparative politics scholar, I focuse on how (de-)democratization and gender influence each other. I investigate this through the lens of feminist social movements, governments and political parties. To do so I use qualitative methods, including critical discourse and narrative analysis, interviews, case studies and focus groups. Regionally, I specialise in Russia and the Western Balkans. My research has received multiple awards, in particular the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Joni Lovenduski PhD Prize in Gender and Politics.

My three year postdoctoral research looks at the rise and use of the narrative of defending "traditional values" in Russian foreign policy. In addition, I co-direct the Horizon Europe project UNTWIST: policy recommendations to regain "losers of feminism" as mainstream voters. Together with eight partners we research six case studies, including Switzerland, over the next three years (2023-2026).

Together with PRIMA fellow Elizabeth Mesok, I co-founded the research network Political Science and Gender Studies. I am member of the newly created academic network Feminisms and Wars community, initiated by the Swedish Defence University, the Finnish Institute for International Affairs and the University of Iceland and funded by NordForsk (Grant 135988). I co-founded the research plattform Conflict and Peace in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and am part of the research platform Language, Violence and Experience of Violence in Southeast-/ Eastern Europe in the 20th and 21st century. Both are based at the Walter Benjamin Kolleg of the University of Bern.

I obtained my DPhil in Politics in autumn 2020 from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Comparing Russia and Serbia, I analyzed how backlash against "gender ideology" is instrumental for authoritarian regimes and how it impacts feminist interpretation of power relations and strategies for subversion, nationally and transnationally. The thesis also received an honorable mention by the Swiss Association for Gender Studies. I furthermore got the Young Scholar Award 2022 by the Walter Benjamin Kolleg for my interdisciplinary approach and commitment to science communication.

I have held numerous visiting fellowships, i.a. at Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory at the University of Belgrade (2017), the Department of Comparative Politics at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in St. Petersburg (2017) and the Albert Hirschman Centre for Democracy at the Geneva Graduate Institute (2018).

Between 2020 and 2022, I worked as senior researcher and gender advisor at swisspeace, an associated institute of the University of Basel, where I specialised in policy-relevant research related to feminist foreign policy and the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda.

For an updated and full list please refer to Bern Open Repository System


  • Bias, Leandra, "Authoritarian Othering back and feminist subversion: Rethinking transnational feminism in Russia and Serbia", Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 2024, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp. 202-225. (link)
  • Bias, Leandra, “NGOisation and generational divide in Serbia's feminist movement”, Women's Studies International Forum, Volume 77, October, 2019. (link)

Monographs in progress

  • Bias, Leandra, (forthcoming 2024). (prov. title) Power, transnational feminism and backlash: Avoiding authoritarian co-optability in Russia and Serbia (full manuscript successfully passed review by Oxford University Press in November 2023)

  • Bias, Leandra (forthcoming 2025). (prov. title) Putin, Macht, Patriarchat – die Internationale der Antifeministen und was wir ihr entgegensetzen können [Putin, Power, Patriarchy - The International of Antifeminists and how to counter them], edition suhrkamp (contract signed).

DPhil dissertation

  • Bias, Leandra, The (Im)Possibility of Feminist Critique in Authoritarianism – Revisiting Western Knowledge-Transfer in Russia and Serbia, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, published February 2021. (link)

Policy reports

  • Leandra Bias, Yasmine Janah, "Scoping Study: Masculinities, Violence, and Peace", swisspeace, subsidised by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, November 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Ekaterina Filep, Andrea Grossenbacher, "Synthesis Note - Gender and Rising Authoritarianism", swisspeace, mandated by Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, May 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Ekaterina Filep*, Andrea Grossenbacher, "Topic Paper - Gender and Rising Authoritarianism: Implications for Women’s Political Empowerment and Participation", swisspeace, mandated by Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, March 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias*, Andrea Filippi, Izabel Barros, "Centering Care in Women, Peace and Security: Civil society’s voice in Switzerland’s implementation of the Fourth National Action Plan 1325", policy brief out of NAP 1325 project of KOFF - Swiss Plattform for peacebuilding, cfd - the feminist peace organization and PeaceWomen across the Globe, subsidised by Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, February 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias*, Izabel Barros, Andrea Filippi, Natalina Haller, Joana Salvadé, "No Care, No Peace! Contributions from civil society on Switzerland’s implementation of the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda", advocacy report out of NAP 1325 project of KOFF - Swiss Plattform for peacebuilding, cfd - the feminist peace organization and PeaceWomen across the Globe, subsidised by Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, September 2021. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Sibel Gürler, "Scoping Study 'A strategy for women participation in peace processes in Nineveh'", mandated by NGO ElBarlament, July 2020. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Regula Bühlmann, Regula Kolar, "Agenda 2030 und Gender [Agenda 2030 and gender]", Plattform Agenda 2030, June 2020. (link)

Invited talks

  • "Frieden heisst nicht nur kein Krieg. Die Perspektive der feministischen Friedenspolitik" [Peace does not mean just absence of war. The perspective of feminist peace policy", PhiloThik Theater im Kornhaus Baden, 3. December 2023. (link)
  • Late night talk with Leandra Bias, Weia! Waga! Nebengeräusche zum Basler Ring, Theater Basel, 5. October 2023. (link)
  • "Eine feministische Analyse als Antwort auf autoritäre Aggression" [A feminist analysis as response to authoritarian aggression], Winterrede, Karl*a der*die Grosse, 20. Januar 2023. (link)
  • "Feministische Aussenpolitik: Grundsätze – Stärken – Schwächen" [Feminist foreign policy: principles - strengths - weaknesses], Referat, Jahresversammlung der Frauen für den Frieden, 16. November 2022.

Conference proceedings

  • "Feminist (de)mobilization in the wake of Russian authoritarian aggression", European Consortium for Political Research, 5. September 2023.
  • "Risky resonance: Transnational feminism in times of authoritarian 'Othering back'", Swiss Political Science Association Annual Congress, 3. February 2023.
  • “Avoiding Authoritarian Hijacking: Transnational Feminism in Times of Backlash”, Weaving the Transnational Anti-Gender Network Workshop, The Centre on Social Movement Studies Cosmos, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, 30-31 May 2022.
  • “Shifting Power Relations: Russian feminism in times of Authoritarianism”, International Studies Association Annual Convention, 29. March 2022.
  • “Russian feminists’ re-imagining of epistemic community as a means to subvert anti-Western official discourse”, British International Studies Association (BISA) General Conference, 12-14 June 2019.
  • “No such thing as ‘false consciousness’: Serbian feminists’ rejection of post-colonial subjectivity“, BISA General Conference, Bath, 15. June 2018.
  • “Is it all about anger and self-exclusion? The Serbian feminist movement through the eyes of the young feminist (in)activists”, General Conference of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, 13-15 April 2018.
  • “Russian Feminists’ Risky Critique of Western Knowledge-Transfer“, Swiss Political Science Association Annual Conference, Geneva, 6. February 2018.
  • “A Genuine Backlash or Politics as Usual? Serbian Feminists’ Perceptions of Contemporary Political Change“, European Conference on Politics and Gender, Lausanne, 8. June 2017.
  • “Russian Feminists’ Risky Contestation of Sistriarchy and Zapadnitsi“, Workshop: Post-Communist Identities, Concepts and Perspectivism, BISA working group on Interpretivism, RANEPA, St. Petersburg, 18. October 2017.
  • “What does the return to local knowledge stand for? Serbian feminists between Decolonisation and Generational Struggle“, Workshop: Dialoguing ‘between the posts’: Post-socialist and post-/decolonial perspectives in South-Eastern Europe, BISA working group on South-Eastern Europe, Singidunum University, Belgrade, 23. September 2017.
  • “Illiberalism on the rise or politics as usual? Serbian feminists' lived experience of political change”, BISA working group on South-Eastern Europe, UCL, London, 18. May 2017.

Science communication (selection)

Blog posts

  • “The Fight Against Domestic Violence in Belarus in Times of Protest”, Spotlight, ZOiS Centre for international and East European Studies, 2. June 2021. (link)
  • “Rückwärtsgewandt nach vorne! Der Angriff auf die Istanbul-Konvention” [Going forward facing backwards! The attack on the Istanbul Convention], décodage, SAGW Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, 20. May 2021. (link)

Panel discussions

  • "Ist das Volk der Souverän" [Are the People the Sovereign?], Karl der Grosse, 18. October 2023. (link)
  • "Neue feministische Welle? [New feminist wave?]", organized by Swiss think tank Denknetz, Park Platz Zurich, 26. May 2023. (link)
  • "Diplomatie féministe: slogan ou réalité?" [Feminist Diplomacy: Slogan or Reality?], Maison Heinrich Heine, Paris, 6. March 2023. (link)
  • "War, oppression and strongmen: rethinking the role of antifeminism in autocratic regimes", Munich Security Conference side event, organised by Centre for Feminist Forein Policy, International Civil Action Network and German Council on Foreign Relations, 19. February 2023. (link)
  • "Krieg gegen die Ukraine: feministische und zivilgesellschaftliche Perspektiven" [War against Ukraine: feminist and civil society perspectives], on the occasion of the Ceremony for Young Scholar Award 2022, Walter Benjamin Kolleg, 17. February 2023. (link)
  • "Feministische Aussenpolitik auf für die Schweiz? Ein Sondierungsgespräch" [Feminist Foreign Policy also for Switzerland? An exploratory discussion], alliance f cercle des donatrices, 8. December 2022.
  • "Militarismus und Männlichkeit heute. Oder: Was war nochmal Pazifismus? [Militarism and masculinity today. Or: what was pacifism about again?], feministischer salon Basel, 25. October 2022. (link)
  • "Krieg, das grosse Verbrechen" [war the big atrocity], SRF Club, 22 March 2022 (link)
  • "Ukraine – Ein neues Kapitel im Krieg [Ukraine – a new chapter in the war]", SRF Club, 26. April 2022 (link)


  • "Weiblicher Widerstand gegen den Krieg [Female resistance against the war]", dekoder, 16. January 2024 (link)
  • "The International of Antifeminists", LSE Engenderings, 24. February 2023. (link)
  • “Die Internationale der Antifeministen [The International of anti-feminists]”, Republik, 6. June 2022 (link)
  • “Hello. My name is Vladimir (he/him)”, The Security Times, February 2022 (link)
  • “Russkaja”, Republik, 21 May 2021 (link)
  • “Angriff auf die Gender-Forschung: Kreml geht gegen Feministinnen vor [Attack on gender studies: the Kremlin targets feminists]”, Frankfurter Rundschau, 1 March 2021 (link)
  • “Why the current anti-terror debate is flawed”, swissinfo, 24 November 2020 (link)
  • “Tödliche Klischees [Deadly clichés]”, Republik, 13 August 2020 (link)


  • "Russia’s ban on the ‘LGBT movement’", Meduza Naked Pravda podcast, 8. December 2023 (link)

  • "Russia portrays itself as ‘last line of defence for traditional values’", swissinfo, 11. December 2023 (link)

  • "Feministische Friedenspolitik - jetzt! Drei Fragen an Leandra Bias zu Grenzen konventioneller Friedenspolitik [Feminist peace policy - now! Three questions to Leandra Bias on the limits of conventional peace policy", Newsletter Evangelische Frauen Schweiz, November (link)

  • Gender an der Uni Bern: "Mein Leben ist ein Mäander" [Gender at the University of Bern: "My life is a meander“], Genderstudies, journal of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies, vol. 39., University of Bern (link)

  • "«Eine schädliche westliche Erfindung»: In Serbien und Russland versuchen Politiker feministische Bewegungen zu delegitmieren.", 4x4 Podcast SRF 4 News, 18. September 2023 (link)

  • "Generation Instagram macht Forschung zugänglich" [Generation Instagram makes research accessible], Horizonte Magazin, 1. June 2023 (link)

  • "Expert*innenstimme: Internationaler Frauentag" [Expert view: internatinal women's day], ZOiS - Centre for East European and international studies, 8. March 2023 (link)

  • "Putin will die Erosion der Demokratien herbeiführen [Putin wants to erode democracies]", SRF News, 4. February 2023 (link)

  • "Leandra Bias im Porträt: Sie will die Politik verändern [Leandra Bias in profile: she wants to change politics]", Züritipp, 19. January 2022 (link)
  • "La Svizzera e la politica estera femminista", Rete Uno Sei di Sera, 11. January 2023 (link)
  • "Ein Gespräch mit der feministischen Polit-Wissenschaftlerin Leandra Bias über ein bewegtes Jahr.", SRF Bern Regionaljournal, 30. December 2022 (link)
  • "Ist Krieg reine Männersache? [Is war a man's business?]" swissinfo, 28. November 2022 (link)
  • "Putins Kampf gegen Demokratie und gegen die Frau [Putin’s war against democracy and against women]", SRF Tagesgespräch, 17. August 2022 (link)
  • "Krieg in der Ukraine: Einordnung mit Leandra Bias [War in Ukraine, Leandra Bias analyses], SRF Impact, 9. March 2022 (link)
  • "Putin erstickt Widerrede mit Gewalt: ‘Das ist nicht russisch, das ist patriarchalisch’[Putin represses any opposition with violence: ‘that’s not typically Russian, but patriarchal]", Tagblatt, 9. März 2022 (link)
  • "Haben es Frauen im Ukraine-Krieg ‘besser’? [Have it women ‘better’ in the war in Ukraine?], SRF 4 NewsPlus, 8. March 2022 (link)
  • "Welche Rolle spielen Frauen im Krieg in der Ukraine? [What role do women play in the war in Ukraine?]”, WDR 5 Morgenecho, 8. March 2022 (link)
  • "Warum Frauen wichtig sind für den Frieden [Why women are important for peace]", Tages-Anzeiger, 8. March 2022 (link)
  • "Welche Rolle kommt ukrainischen Soldatinnen zu? [What role do Ukrainian female soldiers play?], SRF 4x4 Podcast, 7. March 2022 (link)
  • “Putin stellt die Ukraine als eine Art Frau dar [Putin frames Ukraine as a sort of woman]", der Bund, 7. March 2022 (link)
  • "In Putins patriarchalem Weltbild müssen Untergeordnete folgen: von der Frau bis zur Ukraine [In Putin’s patriarchal worldview all subordinates must follow: from women to Ukraine", elleXX, 28. February 2022 (link)
  • “Morgengast von 07:17 Uhr”, SRF1, 28. February 2022 (link)
  • "E’ guerra (1./2)”. RSI Rete Uno (from minute 44:20), 24. February 2022 (link)
  • “Feministische Aussenpolitik: ‘Wir stehen am Anfang’ [Feminist Foreign Policy: ‘We are at the beginning’]”, die Wochenzeitung, 13 January 2022 (link)
  • “Wahlen in Russland [Elections in Russia]”, SRF 4 Tagesgespräch, 16. September 2021 (link)
  • “Belarus: ’Women protesters experience less violence than men”, swissinfo, 21 October 2020 (link)

Quoted in media

  • "Ukraine-Krise: Die Schweiz wartet mit Sanktionen ab [Ukraine crisis: Switzerland waits with sanctions]”, swissinfo, 23 February 2022 (link)
  • “Will Switzerland be able to bring its ideals to the UN Security Council?”, swissinfo, 21. February 2022 (link)
  • “The Belarusian protests: feminized, but feminist?”, Conversationalist, 6 November 2020 (link)
  • “What is feminist foreign policy?”, swissinfo, 17 September 2020 (link)


  • Autumn term: interdisciplinary MA seminar "before the armed escalation: Analysis of conflict narratives in Russia and Ukraine (2014-2022)", together with Cécile Druey (Institute of History) and Katrin Karl (Institute for Slavic Languages and Literatures)
  • Spring term: MA seminar "The triangle of (de)democratisation, political violence and resistance: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine"