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Gender after genocide: how violence shapes long-term political representation

Gaikwad, Nikhar, Lin, Erin and Zucker, Noah ORCID: 0000-0001-5535-3661 (2023) Gender after genocide: how violence shapes long-term political representation. World Politics, 75 (3). pp. 439-481. ISSN 0043-8871

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Identification Number: 10.1353/wp.2023.a900710


What are the legacies of violence on women’s political representation? We examine the long-term effects of a watershed conflict of the twentieth century: the Khmer Rouge genocide, during which 50–70% of Cambodia’s working-age men were killed. Using original data on mass killings and economic and political conditions in Cambodian communes, we find that genocide exposure is positively associated with women’s economic advancement and present-day indicators of women’s representation in local-level elected office. We conduct in-depth, ethnographic interviews with genocide survivors to explore the mechanisms by which violence spurred women into elected office. A crucial finding emerges: In areas that suffered the genocide’s worst killings, widows obtained economic autonomy, providing a template for the economic advancement of women in traditional households with surviving men. The shift in norms regarding the sexual division of labor and its transmission through intra-communal and intergenerational pathways allowed women to adopt larger public roles over time.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 11:06
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 04:21

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