No Democratic Transition Without Women's Rights: A Global Sequence Analysis 1900-2012

52 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2015 Last revised: 24 May 2016

See all articles by Yi-ting Wang

Yi-ting Wang

National Cheng Kung University

Patrik Lindenfors

Stockholm University

Aksel Sundström

University of Gothenburg

Fredrik Jansson

Linkoping University - Institute for Analytical Sociology (IAS)

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 1, 2015

Abstract

What determines countries’ successful transition to democracy? Research has focused on socioeconomic and institutional factors, yet the assumption that political liberalization has to precede democratization has not been systematically examined. We explore the impacts of granting civil rights in authoritarian regimes and especially the gendered aspect of this process. We argue that both men’s and women’s liberal rights are essential conditions for democratization to take place: giving both men and women rights reduce an inequality that affects half of the population, thus increasing the costs of repression for authoritarian rulers, and enabling the formation of women’s movements – historically important as a spark of protests in initial phases of democratization. We test this argument empirically using data that cover 160 countries over the years 1900–2012 and contain more nuanced measures than commonly used. Through sequence analysis we obtain results suggesting that liberal rights for both men and women enhance civil society organizations, and then lead to electoral democracy. The results suggest that influential modernization writings – stressing the role of economic development in democratization processes – may partly have been misinformed in their blindness for gender. The reported pattern may be at least part of the explanation of the ‘Arab spring’ failures.

Suggested Citation

Wang, Yi-ting and Lindenfors, Patrik and Sundström, Aksel and Jansson, Fredrik and Lindberg, Staffan I., No Democratic Transition Without Women's Rights: A Global Sequence Analysis 1900-2012 (September 1, 2015). V-Dem Working Paper 2015:12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2667472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2667472

Yi-ting Wang (Contact Author)

National Cheng Kung University ( email )

No.1, University Road
Tainan
Taiwan

Patrik Lindenfors

Stockholm University ( email )

Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution
Stockholm, S-106 91
Sweden
+46703418687 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.su.se/profiles/patrikj-1.183878

Aksel Sundström

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Fredrik Jansson

Linkoping University - Institute for Analytical Sociology (IAS) ( email )

Norrköping, 601 74
Sweden

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

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