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Title: The Form and Substance of Women's Political Participation: a Study of Female Parliamentarians in Post-2001 Afghanistan
Authors: Ahmadi, Salima
Keywords: Afghanistan
women’s parliamentary representation
quota system
political parties
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Department of International and Comparative Politics
Abstract: This study provides socio-political perspectives for deeper insight into the understanding the symbolic and substantive representation of women in Afghan Parliament. It aims to determine the relationship between ‘the form’ and ‘the substance’ of women’s parliamentary representation in Afghanistan since 2001. The main argument of this research is that the ‘form’ does not necessarily results the ‘substance’ and there is a blurred line between ‘mass’ and ‘effectiveness’ of the women MPs in the Parliament. Main premise of “Critical Mass Theory” is criticized, which states that the quantity of women MPs in Parliament leads to the substantive representation. This research has studied four important informal institutions that influenced the formal mandates, which have played a significant role in demonstrating women’s symbolic representation in Afghan Parliament: 1. religious conservatives; 2. tribal values; 3. Pashtunwali code of conduct; and 4. informal justice system. By concluding with a statement that the informal institutions in Afghanistan impede women’s status in society but also women MPs’ substantive representation of gender interests, this study raises critical questions for further research.
Appears in Collections:International and Comparative Politics Department

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