Women's Legislative Representation in Authoritarian Regimes

41 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2017 Last revised: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Frank C. Thames

Frank C. Thames

Texas Tech University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: July 12, 2017


Recent research finds that legislatures in authoritarian regimes co-opt potential adversaries (e.g., Gandhi 2008; Gandhi and Przeworski 2007; Malesky and Schuler 2010) or provide regime loyalists with access to better monitor regime elites (e.g., Jensen, Malesky, and Weymouth 2014; Magaloni 2008; Svolik 2012). These two strains of thought suggest that membership in an authoritarian legislature tells us something about the nature of the authoritarian regime. For gender scholars, this is significant, since we there is substantial variation in the percentage of women in authoritarian legislatures. I argue that this variation in women’s legislative representation is the result, in part, of differences in women’s positions within civil society. As the role of women in civil society expands and the openness of civil society in general increases, women’s legislative representation increases. I test this argument with a dataset of 114 authoritarian regimes from 1972-2010. The empirical results support my argument.

Keywords: Gender; Authoritarian Regimes: Legislature

Suggested Citation

Thames, Frank C., Women's Legislative Representation in Authoritarian Regimes (July 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3001247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3001247

Frank C. Thames (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Department of Political Science ( email )

United States

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