Women in Asian Politics: Descriptive, Diverse, Substantive, and Sustainable Representations (Gender and Comparative Politics)

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9781138638105: Women in Asian Politics: Descriptive, Diverse, Substantive, and Sustainable Representations (Gender and Comparative Politics)

Why has Asia fallen behind other world regions in women’s parliamentary representation? What kinds of social and institutional transformations could further advance women’s political representation across the Asian continent?

Focusing on national parliaments, Devin K. Joshi provides scholars and students with an in-depth examination of representation of women in contemporary Asian politics. Whereas most studies have focused on descriptive representation and substantive representation, Joshi offers a more nuanced theoretical framework for understanding the impact of women on Asian politics and vice versa. He does so by presenting an original, integrated framework for studying gendered political representation applicable to any country, institution, or organization. This framework captures four generations of advances in the study of women’s political representation: critical presence (descriptive and symbolic representation), critical diversity/intersectionality (diverse representation), critical mass and critical actors (substantive representation), and critical duration (sustainable representation). Drawing from a large dataset on the demographic characteristics of over 18,000 female and male members from 38 parliaments across Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia, he is able to address both why only some women enter parliament as well as why some women have more influence than others after entering. Important aspects of Asian parliamentary representation addressed in this book that have thus far been under-researched include:

  • Why do some women stay in politics longer than others?
  • Under what contexts do we see women holding cabinet positions and chairing parliamentary committees?
  • Are women from all educational, occupational, age-cohort/generational, ethnic/religious, and marital status backgrounds included?

Recognizing that descriptive and substantive representations include both quantitative and qualitative components, Women in Asia makes an important contribution vis-à-vis previous work on women’s representation in Asian politics both conceptually and empirically. Joshi successfully builds a bridge between mainstream comparative politics of Asia and the field of gender and politics.

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About the Author:

Devin K. Joshi is an assistant professor in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver where he teaches courses on democracy and development in Asia with a focus on the human development of women and children. He has lived in five Asian countries, is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Hindi, Korean, and Japanese. Author of The State, the Child, and Human Development: Lessons from China and India [SUNY Press, forthcoming] and co-author of Strengthening Governance Globally (Paradigm/Oxford University Press 2014), he has published extensively in academic journals including: Democratization, Economic and Political Weekly, Global Governance, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of Legislative Studies, Journal of Politics, and Women’s Studies International Forum.

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