This article presents the results of a study of neighbourhood movements in seven countries in the South and eastern Europe, carried out over more than 7 years. This research took place within the framework of UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme and was undertaken with a network of researchers from the countries concerned. Seriously affected by environmental degradation, facing emergency situations and a lack of public services, women are playing an active part in grassroots movements in order to organise, resist and make policies. However, the considerable presence of women in these organisations is rarely recognised. The gender perspective provides keys for understanding how female and male asymmetries structure the residents' perception and concrete organisation of social life, especially their representation and utilisation of the environment and urban space. To achieve understanding requires observation of the construction of femininity and masculinity in different contexts, the workings of institutions and organisations, and the changing power relations between men and women, and, within these processes and structures, individuals' agency in their role as subjects. This article shows, in the neighbourhood movements studied by the different teams of researchers, how the asymmetrical shaping of femininity and masculinity is translated into inequalities in terms of access to rights. It analyses how becoming aware of these asymmetries opens avenues for creating new – albeit short-lived – social relations in the neighbourhood movements, and how another way of thinking about politics is constructed in these territories.