Odernization Theory and Women's Political Representation

Topics: Political terms, Gender, Sociology Pages: 187 (27485 words) Published: January 23, 2013
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Modernization Theory and Women’s Political Representation: A Case Study of Vietnam
Cathy Duong

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements
For the degree of
Masters of Globalization and International Development (M.A) in
The Faculty of Graduate Studies

University of Ottawa
April 2012

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While the proponents of the modernization theory reckon that economic growth leads inevitably to social development and gender equality, authors dealing with conflict and with institutional design suggest that economic growth by itself does not follow an exclusive path. The case of Vietnam serves to illustrate the shifts in women political representation under different historical stages, namely colonialism, war of independence, civil war, pacification process, and neo-liberal economic reforms. This paper shows that the presence of women in high political office in Vietnam could be attributed to various factors of which the culture seems to play a paramount role. Male support is paramount, since patriarchal culture is deeply ingrained in the society. Despite the enforcement of the Doi Moi reform in the eighties, certain features that characterize democracy, such as gender equality in the political sphere, have yet to be achieved. The case of Vietnam imposes a challenge on modernization theory, since it shows that the relationship between political changes and socio-economic conditions are causal. Empirical analysis is performed with data drawn from the Vietnamese Country Reports and the Inter-Parliamentary Union Dataset, when available, from 1946 to 2011.

Key words: political representation, gender equality, institutional design, modernization theory, patriarchal culture, Vietnamese women, democracy.


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Table of Contents


Table of Contents


List of Tables and Figure




1. Introduction


2. Theoretical Framework:
2.1 Modernization Theory: First Wave, Second Wave, Third Wave 2.2 Democracy and Gender Equality


3. Literature Review: Other Factors Affecting Women’s Political Representation 3.1 Political: institutional design
3.2 Socio-economic factors: illiteracy and lack of training
3.3 Cultural: Patriarchal Ideology
3.4 Contextual Environment: War and Internal Conflicts


4. Methodology: Data Collection and Analysis


5. Results for Vietnam: Government Structure of Vietnam
5.1 Women in National Assembly (Legislative Branch)
5.2 Women in Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP)


6. Discussions: Factors Affecting Women’s Political Representation for Vietnam 6.1 Contextual Factors
6.2 Socio-economic: Reforms and Economic Development
6.3 Institutions and International Norms and Social Group
6.4 Prevailing Cultural Factors
6.5 Modernization Theory


7. Conclusions and Recommendations


8. References


9. Appendix: Women’s Legislative Representation Worldwide (Table 1)



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List of Tables

Page Number

Table 1: Women’s Legislative Representation Worldwide (Appendix)


Table 2: Women’s Representation in the National Assembly of Vietnam (1946-2011)


Table 3: Positions for Women in National Assembly (1992-2007)


Table 4: Social Republic of Vietnam Council of Ministers in 1976


List of Figure
Figure 1: Women’s Representation in the National Assembly of Vietnam, 1946-2011



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This project could not have existed without the support of the following: A big ‘Thank you’ to my supervisor: Micheline Lessard who saw something worthwhile in this project and had supported it until the end.

To Narda  Alcántara Valverde, Daniel Payne, Lian Hall and Dawa Bhuti, I am grateful to my willing editors for helping me clarify my paper and write better.   I am also indebted to my reader Trang Tran who had taken the time to read and provide valuable...

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