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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

Opposition to Women's Increased Civic and Political Participation in Developing Countries

Civil Society
Political Participation
Political Violence
Denise Walsh
University of Virginia
Denise Walsh
University of Virginia
Vanessa Ochs
University of Virginia
Swati Chawla
University of Virginia
Dannah Dennis
University of Virginia
Paromita Sen
University of Virginia
Diana Catalina Vallejo Pedraza
University of Virginia

What do we know about strong opposition to women’s increased civic and political participation in developing countries, and how can we best build on this knowledge in future research? To answer this question we define opposition to women’s civic and political participation, operationalize it along a continuum, and then undertake a systematic review of the existing literature across multiple disciplines (political science, anthropology, sociology, and history). We find that regional or national distinctions are not very useful for understanding opposition to women’s participation; instead we identify contexts (such as authoritarian regimes, rural areas with patriarchal gender norms) and sites (such as families and political parties) where strong opposition is likely to occur. We discuss how the concept of a “vicious spiral” might be used to conceptualize the ways that opposition shifts across sites and through cycles, and summarize current recommendations for mitigating strong opposition. Given the limited evidence-based research on strong opposition in response to women’s increased civic and political participation, we also briefly discuss moderate to low opposition, which is ubiquitous across contexts and sites, and evaluate strategies to overcome these lower levels of opposition. The paper concludes with a comprehensive research agenda for investigating opposition and resistance to women’s civic and political participation in developing countries.
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