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Has Democracy Failed Women?

ISBN: 978-1-5095-1636-0
144 pages
November 2017, Polity
Has Democracy Failed Women? (1509516360) cover image


Why are women still under-represented in politics? Can we speak of democracy when women are not fully included in political decision-making? Some argue that we are on the right track to full gender equality in politics, while others talk about women hitting the glass ceiling or being included in institutions with shrinking power, not least as a result of neo-liberalism.

In this powerful essay, internationally renowned scholar of gender and politics Drude Dahlerup explains how democracy has failed women and what can be done to tackle it. Political institutions, including political parties, she argues, are the real gatekeepers to elected positions all over the world, but they need to be much more inclusive. By reforming these institutions and carefully implementing gender quotas we can move towards improved gender equality and greater democratization.

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Table of Contents

  • Contents
  • Preface
  • List of tables and figures
  • Chapter 1: Exclusion without words
  • Chapter 2: Breaking male dominance in politics
  • Chapter 3: The impact of Gender Quotas
  • Chapter 4: Gendering Public Policy
  • Chapter 5: Women in global politics
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Author Information

Drude Dahlerup is Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University.
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"Drude Dahlerup offers an interesting, lucid and challenging arguments about the many relationships between gender and democracy. Wide ranging and well informed this book is clear and accessible. It should be read by anyone interested in either or both of feminism and politics."
Joni Lovenduski, Professor Emerita of Politics, Birkbeck College

"Authored by one of the pioneering scholars of gender and politics, Has Democracy Failed Women? offers a wide-ranging overview of developments and debates regarding women's political empowerment in global historical perspective. Drawing on decades of research and extensive consulting experience, Drude Dahlerup concludes that democracy has failed women, but women can revitalize democracy, providing a powerful impetus for future studies and advocacy for more women in political life."
Mona Lena Krook, Rutgers University
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