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Myths about Women's RightsHow, Where, and Why Rights Advance$
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Feryal M. Cherif

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190211172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190211172.001.0001

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Struggling for Political Equality

Struggling for Political Equality

From De Jure to De Facto Rights

(p.87) 5 Struggling for Political Equality
Myths about Women's Rights

Feryal M. Cherif

Oxford University Press

The extension of women’s political rights is regarded as a hallmark case of international norms-building. Despite wide acceptance of political equality, however, there is a dearth of women in office, and little is known about the degree to which international norms have affected women’s de facto political rights. This chapter investigates how culture, international norms-building, and core rights influenced women’s representation in legislatures and ministries between 1990 and 2010. Statistical tests evince broad support for international norms-building explanations, corroborating the conventional wisdom that women’s rights advocacy improves political rights; however, they also highlight the important role played by core rights. While both norms-building efforts and core rights appear to diffuse more progressive ideas, such that macro-level cultural and religious barriers appear weak, the quality of women’s political representation has not substantially changed.

Keywords:   political rights, political representation, legislatures, cabinets, international norms, women’s rights advocacy, culture, religious barriers

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