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The Logics of Gender Justice
State Action on Women's Rights Around the World

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Gender and Politics

  • Date Published: January 2018
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108280969

$ 24.00 USD ( )
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About the Authors
  • When and why do governments promote women's rights? Through comparative analysis of state action in seventy countries from 1975 to 2005, this book shows how different women's rights issues involve different histories, trigger different conflicts, and activate different sets of protagonists. Change on violence against women and workplace equality involves a logic of status politics: feminist movements leverage international norms to contest women's subordination. Family law, abortion, and contraception, which challenge the historical claim of religious groups to regulate kinship and reproduction, conform to a logic of doctrinal politics, which turns on relations between religious groups and the state. Publicly-paid parental leave and child care follow a logic of class politics, in which the strength of Left parties and overall economic conditions are more salient. The book reveals the multiple and complex pathways to gender justice, illuminating the opportunities and obstacles to social change for policymakers, advocates, and others seeking to advance women's rights.

    • Provides a new framework and typology to understand differences between women's rights laws and policies
    • Presents a new analysis based on an original dataset, with multiple research methods that illustrate and support the arguments with both qualitative and statistical evidence
    • Offers comparative analysis of different countries and world regions
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    • Winner, 2019 HR Best Book Award, Human Rights Section, International Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This book will be an instant classic in the politics of gender because of its power and scope. Based on meticulous empirical research, Htun and Weldon explain vast variation - within and across countries - in government policies that could help women advance towards full political, economic, and social equality. By disaggregating gender politics along different dimensions, they are able to uncover separate logics underlying, for example, family law, violence against women, and support for childcare - a masterful achievement.' Frances McCall Rosenbluth, Yale University, Connecticut

    ‘One of the most important developments today is the expanding rights and power of women, yet policies that support women's equality in the law, family, and workplace differ a great deal around the world. Htun and Weldon's landmark book provides a valuable mapping and characterization of gender equality-promoting policies in 70 countries, as well as a streamlined and powerful framework for explaining them. Packed with data, qualitative case studies, and theoretical insights, this book is essential reading for scholars seeking to understand the rise of women's rights, the influence of women's movements, and the effects of political conflicts rooted in class and religion on gender relations around the globe.' Kimberly J. Morgan, George Washington University, Washington, DC

    ‘In this exciting new book, Mala Htun and S. Laurel Weldon break new ground by not only showing the profound variations across gender equality policies and their different logics, but by providing a compelling typology and framework for analysing continuity and change in each type of policy. With its rich theoretical grounding, and breathtaking global scope, The Logics of Gender Justice is set to change the field of feminist public policy for years to come – a must read for scholars and students interested in gender equality policies and for activists and practitioners looking for insights into the political dynamics at work.' Shahra Razavi, Chief of Research and Data Section, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2018
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108280969
    • contains: 25 b/w illus. 39 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: states and gender justice
    2. Feminist mobilization and status politics: combatting violence against women
    3. Governing women's legal status at work
    4. Doctrinal politics: religious power, the state, and family law
    5. Class politics: family leave and child care policy
    6. Reproductive rights: class, status, and doctrinal politics
    7. The multiple logics of gender justice
    8. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Mala Htun, University of New Mexico
    Mala Htun is Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of Inclusion without Representation in Latin America (Cambridge, 2016) and Sex and the State (Cambridge, 2003). She has been named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, held the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, and was a fellow at the Kellogg Institute of the University of Notre Dame and the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Norwegian Research Council.

    S. Laurel Weldon, Purdue University, Indiana
    S. Laurel Weldon is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute at Purdue University. Weldon has authored more than twenty articles and book chapters and two books, including When Protest Makes Policy: How Social Movements Represent Disadvantaged Groups (2011), which won the Victoria Schuck Award. She is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook on Gender and Politics (2013) and of the journal Politics, Groups and Identities. She has served on the editorial board of the American Political Science Review, Politics & Gender, Women, Politics and Policy and the European Journal of Politics and Gender.


    • Winner, 2019 HR Best Book Award, Human Rights Section, International Studies Association

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