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Bjarnegård, Elin

Bjarnegård, Elin

NIAS Individual Fellowship

The Gender Politics of Authoritarianism

Research Question

Why do authoritarian states carry out gender equality reforms?

Project Description

Democracy is on the retreat in many parts of the world at the same time as the number of women parliamentarians has doubled in the past two decades. A global push for gender equality was initiated with the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in the Fourth World Conference for Women in 1995. The international community has since advocated and pushed for gender equality reforms as part of a broader development and democratization agenda. The largest increase in women’s representation has taken place in non-democratic countries.

This book project investigates why authoritarian states carry out gender equality reforms in general and seek to boost women’s representation in particular. Preliminary results indicate that ruling parties in authoritarian states advocate for gender equality because they perceive that it increases the chances of regime survival. This spurs the additional question of what the consequences are of gender equality reforms carried out under authoritarianism – for equality and democracy as well as for the women who enter politics in countries with authoritarian tendencies.

Elin Bjarnegård explores gender quota’s adopted by authoritarian states. Should we consider them as windows of opportunity or as window dressing?

Selected Publications

1) Bjarnegård, Elin. 2013. Gender, Informal Institutions and Political Recruitment: Explaining Male Dominance in Parliamentary Representation. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2) Bjarnegård, Elin and Pär Zetterberg. 2016. ”Gender Equality Reforms on an Uneven Playing Field. Candidate Selection and Quota Implementation in Tanzania.” Government & Opposition 51(3): 464-486.

3) Gabrielle Bardall, Bjarnegård, Elin, and Jennifer Piscopo. 2019. ”How is Political Violence Gendered? Disentangling Motives, Forms, and Impacts”. Published online first in Political Studies. DOI: 10.1177/0032321719881812

4)Elin Bjarnegård. 2021. “The continuum of election violence: Gendered candidate experiences in the Maldives” International Political Science Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192512120977111

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Elin explains how gender politics and democracy come into play in authoritarian states