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This section of the library provides research that informs the why and how of Mina’s List.
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Growth in Women’s Political Representation: A Longitudinal Exploration of Democracy, Electoral System, and Gender Quotas

Author: Pamela Paxton, Melanie Hughes, & Matthew Painter | The increase in women’s political representation is among the most significant trends in international politics over the last 100 years. Though women have made steady political progress, there is significant variation in the level of progress from country to country. This paper examines how political factors such as electoral systems, national-level gender quotas, and growth of democracy affect women’s political representation in a country. The study finds that a) national quotas do affect women’s political presence, but at a lower level than legislated by law; b) the impact of a proportional representation system on women’s political representation is steady over time; and c) democracy does not affect the level of women’s political participation in the earliest period, but does impact its growth over time.

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Gender, Equality and Corruption: What Are the Linkages?

Author: Transparency International | This policy brief explores women’s unique experience with corruption and the implications for governance. Gender inequality and corruption are closely linked because gender inequalities undermine good governance, sustainable growth, development outcomes, and poverty alleviation. This policy brief finds that countries that have made advances in women’s rights and participation in public life experience better governance and lower levels of corruption over time.

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Are Women Really the Fairer Sex? Corruption and Women in Government

Author: David Dollar, Raymond Fisman, & Roberta Gatti | Numerous behavioral studies have found women to be more trust-worthy and public-spirited than men. These studies suggest that women should be particularly effective in promoting honest government. This paper attempts to evaluate this hypothesis by examining the relationship between female participation in government legislatures and the level of perceived corruption in a sample of more than 100 countries. Consistent with the hypothesis, this paper finds that the greater the representation of women in parliament, the lower the level of corruption.

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Strengthening Women’s Roles in Parliaments

Author: Susan Markham | NDI has supported democratic institutions and practices in every region of the world for nearly three decades. This article provides an overview of strategies used by NDI for improving democratic governance by increasing women’s representation and men’s awareness of the value of women’s participation in parliament. Best practices include providing support to women’s legislators, strengthening the institution, promoting cross-party caucuses, and working with gender affairs committees.

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Gender, Corruption and Sustainable Growth in Transition Countries

Author: Julia Michailova & Inna Melnykovska | Many studies have found a negative relationship between corruption levels and economic development, but few demonstrate correlation between women’s political representation and corruption level. This paper analyzes the correlation between gender and corruption for a specific sample of transition countries. Based on the analysis, the paper concludes that as the number of women in parliament increases, corruption levels decrease.

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The Impact of Women in Public Office: Findings at a Glance

Author: Center for the American Woman and Politics, Rutgers | Do women in office make a difference? The Center for the American Woman and Politics under a grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation conducted a major program of research aimed at answering this question. This summary provides an overview of the research findings reported in the series The Impact of Women in Public Office. The results of the research - the first systematic and comprehensive analysis of the impact of women in public office - provide strong evidence that women in office are making a difference in both public policy and the way that government operates.

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The Female Political Career

Author: Frances Rosenbluth, Joshua Kalla, & Dawn Teele | Formal barriers to women’s participation in politics are slowly disappearing, but a glass ceiling still remains. This report reflects survey results from 84 countries around the world designed to understand the obstacles women face in launching and sustaining successful political careers. The results of the study find that some of the most common challenges women face include public-private life balance, lack of support networks, lack of fundraising opportunities, and negative media portrayal.

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Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009: Who Answers to Women? Gender and Accountability

Author: Anne Marie Goetz | UN Women is dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, and was formed to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to the rights of women and girls. This volume of the Progress of the World’s Women report demonstrates that the MDGs and other international commitments to women will only be met if gender-responsive accountability systems are put in place both nationally and internationally. The report examines how women are strengthening their capacity to identify accountability gaps, as well as how such improvements enhance women’s access to politics, public services, economic opportunities, justice, and international assistance.

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Democracy and the Challenge of Change: A Guide to Increasing Women’s Political Participation

Author: The National Democratic Institute | NDI believes that the equitable participation of women in politics and government is essential to build and sustain democracy. This guide explains the importance of women’s political participation and provides strategies on how to increase their representation as voters, political leaders, and elected officials.

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Why Women in Politics?

Author: The National Democratic Institute | Despite comprising over 50 percent of the world’s population, women continue to be under-represented in the political sphere. However, there is growing recognition of the untapped capacity and talents of women and women’s leadership. This fact sheet explains the importance of women’s increased political participation and outlines their unique contribution to the political sphere.

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Female Policymakers and Educational Expenditures: Cross-Country Evidence

Author: Li-Ju Chen | This paper investigates the influence of women in politics on decision-making, specifically related to public educational expenditures. The study examines and controls for certain contexts that may affect the influence of female legislators, such as the presence of a left-wing government, the type of government, the political cycle, and the marriage status. Results suggest that the greater the representation of women in parliament, the higher the public educational expenditures. Additionally, the author concludes that because women and men play different roles in society and have different interests and priorities, it follows that women’s interests cannot be adequately represented in decision-making by men.

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The Effect of Increased Women’s Representation in Parliament: The Case of Rwanda

Author: Claire Devlin & Robert Elgie | There is an increasing amount of research about the effects of women’s representation in national government on the style of parliamentary politics in a country. However, most of these studies focus on Western cases. This article examines the case of Rwanda, which now has the highest level of women’s representation in parliament in the world at 64 percent. Based on face-to-face interviews with women representatives in the Rwandan parliament, research suggests that Western-based work has validity in a developing world context. In Rwanda, women’s issues are now raised more easily and more often, and there has been a strong advocacy of international feminism.

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Why Women? Inclusive Security and Peaceful Societies

Author: Institute for Inclusive Security | When women are substantively included in security and peace processes, especially when they are in positions of leadership and decision-making, peace is made more likely. This brief provides a comprehensive overview of the existing data evidencing the importance of women’s inclusion. From their initial prevention of violence to the strengthening of the peace process and rebuilding a more peaceful society, women are key to achieving peace and sustaining security. As violent conflict continues to increase the world over and traditional approaches to peace continue to fail, this publication addresses the question: why women?

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