Gender and Politics

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Gender equality and Democracy

“Gender equality must be treated as an explicit goal of democracy

and not and add on” (Ban Ki-Moon). Given the conjectural connections between regime type and gender equality, countries that have been democratized should have a substantial amount of women representation in the public domain. This would be due to the fact that ideally democracy should be inclusive, participatory and representative. In Handelman’s book, The Challenge of Third World Development

he states that, “Because democratic ideology endorses equal opportunity and equal rights for all citizens, we might expect the Third Wave of democracy to have advance gender equity.” Two standards of measurement that address gender issues are the UNDP’s Gender Development Index (GDI) and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM). Handelman incorporates this data to systematically investigate the relation between gender equity ad democracy. He, “ranked the degree of democracy or authoritarianism(as measured by their Freedom House ranking) in 50 LDC’s into three groups: those that were “Free”, that is liberal democracies (21 cases), “Partly Free” (17) and “Not Free” that is authoritarian (12).” (Handelman) He examined that Free(liberal democracies) had the highest GEM and GDI rankings overall while authoritarian countries had the lowest GEMs; although they did have a better GDI score than Partly Free nations. Although these findings are insufficient to establish a relationship between gender equity and democracy, it does suggest that, “democracies promote gender equality more efficiently than authoritarian regimes do.” (Handelman) This would be due to the fact that with modernization comes a growing middle class, higher rates of literacy, and wider educational opportunities. As a result women become more aware of their rights and opportunities. “It is not

coincidental that more modernized nations of Latin America-including Argentina, Costa-Rica and Mexico-have the largest...
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