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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Challenging Gendered Politics: The Impact of One-Party Systems on Women’s Political Participation in Legislatures


In the early 1990s, while a global pivot towards democracy was slowly accepted into civil society, authoritarian regimes began losing legitimacy. Paradoxically, the spread of democracy was accompanied by the insurgence of patriarchal one-party autocracies. This phenomenon catalyzed my interest to research into gender parity and one-party rule, the differences between a one-party state and a one-party dominant system, and the overall implications of adding gender quotas in party and state politics. The paper focuses on the relationship between women’s political participation in legislatures and one-party systems in three countries: China, Turkey and South Africa. The aim of the research is to uncover the impact and trend of one-party rule on women representation in legislature. As a result, the research will clarify whether there are differences in political treatment of women in a one-party state in China and one-party dominant state like South Africa. Another layer of the research will illustrate the impact of women’s participation in legislature where a democratic state begins to show signs of one-party dominance like Turkey. I qualitatively and quantitatively depict how each unique system identifies women’s political participation and whether or not they use democratic tactics to increase the number of women in their legislature.

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