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All Politics Is Local: Studying Women’s Representation in Local Politics in Authoritarian Regimes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2023

Carolyn Barnett*
University of Arizona, USA
Marwa Shalaby
University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


The past decade has witnessed a significant increase in women’s presence in local politics. According to the newly published United Nations (UN) Women in Local Government data set, women constitute 36% of local deliberative bodies worldwide compared to merely 25% in national parliaments.1 Much of this increase is the result of gender quotas: the Gender Quotas Database (International IDEA 2022) shows that as of 2021, 75 countries had some form of gender quota on the local level, 24 of which were authoritarian regimes. Yet, extant work on gender politics in authoritarian regimes tends to focus on the national level, given the highly centralized decision-making processes in such contexts. We contend that the study of women’s engagement and representation in local politics can help scholars better understand not only gender and politics, but also authoritarian politics more generally.

Critical Perspectives Article
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Women, Gender, and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association

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