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Gender & Comparative Politics

We know that although women don’t come from Venus, and men aren’t from Mars, men and women do experience and participate in politics in very different ways. If we could line up all the leaders of the nations around the world, we would see few women. If we could put all the world’s legislators in the same auditorium, we would see more women, but it certainly would not be half (or rather 52%) of the legislative population. And if we counted up all the references to women, girls and females in comparative politics textbooks, we wouldn’t need many fingers to do the counting either.

So why study how gender operates in politics? One reason is that more women are to be found at various levels of governance, and more and more women are participating in politics through voting and political action at local and regional levels. We might also want to know whether an increase in women’s participation has any effect on policies. Or we might want to discover the relation between political and social change and greater gender equality in a society.

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