Gender Equality and Electoral Violence : A Qualitative Analysis of Gender Equality and its Effect on Government-initiated Electoral Violence in Democratizing Societies

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Sammanfattning: Electoral violence in democratizing countries results in hundreds of deaths each year and undermines democratic practices and the legitimacy of elections. Although identifying several societal and institutional factors increasing the risk of electoral violence, prior research has largely failed to consider gender equality when exploring the causes of electoral violence. This essay aims to fill this gap by addressing the following research question: How does gender inequality affect the occurrence of government-initiated electoral violence during the pre-election period in democratizing countries? By arguing that the norms of respect, tolerance and inviolability prevalent in societies with high levels of gender equality heighten the cost of violent tactics, I hypothesize that gender equality reduces government-initiated electoral violence. Through a qualitative cross-case analysis of the national elections in Liberia in 2011 and Guinea in 2015, this study finds evidence suggesting that gender equality has a pacifying effect on government-initiated electoral violence in the pre-election period. To some extent, the empirical data also supports the underlying mechanism, although evidence for potential alternative explanations for the relationship was also recognized. This could potentially make the observed relationship spurious and call for further research on the topic.

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