South Asian Studies Brown Bag Series: Making Democracy Work for Women: Evidence from Pakistan - Sarah Khan

Event time: 
Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Despite de jure guarantees of equality, political inequality between men and women persists in democracies around the world. The situation is particularly grave in Pakistan where women are missing from electoral rolls in large numbers, face informal bans from turning out to vote, report negligible levels of contact with their representatives, and enjoy at best low levels of indirect access to even the most local levels of representatives. I develop and test a theory of how inequality within the household is reproduced in the political sphere and undermines prospects for women’s substantive representation. Drawing on an original face-to-face survey conducted in 800 households in the Faisalabad district of Pakistan, I show that men and women within the same household prioritize systematically different public goods and services based on the context-specific division of household labor. Using a novel behavioral measure of political communication, I demonstrate that women attach a lower value to their distinctive preferences than men, and are less willing to communicate these preferences to political representatives. The gendered asymmetry in preference assertion has implications for democratic theories of representation: it suggests that the link between political participation and substantive representation may be undermined in the case of women due to their position within the household.

Open to: 
General Public