Theses Bachelor's

How Personal is the Political? Patterns in Gendered Violence Following Women’s Rights Expansions

Eget, Emily Rose

Following existing literature situating gender-based violence in a uniquely interpersonal, social, and political realm, I pursued a new perspective on the gendered backlash hypothesis. I applied the lens of cultural backlash theories, studying regressionist movements in response to perceived political catering to marginalized groups, to advances in women’s rights. Additionally, I considered the potential for gendered violence without an explicit political motive to be an indirect political response to discontinuities in social norm evolution. I conducted a quantitative analysis assessing the relationship between the point of feminist policy change and changes in sexual violence and female homicide rates, finding overall ambiguity in results depending on policy change type. In analyzing two contrasting cases of recent policy changes codifying women’s labor rights in Mexico and Kenya which exhibited contrasting results, I found political instability to be an influencing factor of particular interest, reducing the effectiveness of women’s rights reforms. Overall, quantitative results indicated that the positive normative and structural changes induced by the policies may have outweighed any resulting backlash; alternatively, backlash may fester over a larger time frame outside of the analysis. Qualitative findings from cases in Mexico and Kenya draw attention to the negative implications of implementing social reforms during times of political turmoil, pointing to policy change timing and origin as key areas for further research.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Daly, Sarah Z.
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
April 15, 2022