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Women's rights in democratizing states : just debate and gender justice in the public sphere /

"This study offers a new explanation for why advances in women's rights rarely occur in democratizing states. Drawing on deliberative theory, Denise Walsh argues that the leading institutions in the public sphere are highly gendered, meaning women's ability to shape the content of public debate and...

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Main Author: Walsh, Denise M.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2011
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Walsh (Univ. of Virginia) pursues a methodical comparison of three countries undergoing democratization--Poland, Chile, and South Africa--that cuts across the world regions within which political comparisons usually occur. Walsh draws on deliberative theorists, who focus on communication, to argue the importance of open and inclusive "just debate" in gendered institutions: civil society, the media, and legislatures/parliaments in which laws are made that can advance (or contract) gender justice. As such, Walsh moves beyond the percentage of women in parliaments and quota solutions that merely enhance the presence of women to the actual quality of democracy--often very thin in post-authoritarian transitional periods. Poland, a "theological democracy," exhibited a delayed and conservative response to gender justice. In brief analysis, Walsh documents how Chile exhibited a moderate response to gender justice. In South Africa, where Walsh did field research and for which he provides the fullest analysis of the three cases, a good response to gender justice was initially obtained, followed by decline but with some response among women and gender-focused civil society organizations and the media. Future scholarship will require more attention to the implementation and enforcement of public policies. On a par with Georgina Waylen's cross-regional comparative analysis, Engendering Transitions (2007). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. K. Staudt University of Texas at El Paso

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.