My Research

Author’s Note – I am currently revising the general description and explanation of this project and I would appreciate any comments or feedback you may have. For example, what is missing for you? What would you like to hear more about? What is unclear for you? Finally, this intended audience for this page is more general. I am working on a secondary page that goes into more detail or is for a more academic audience and would love your feedback on this page as well when it is available. Thank you for your comments.

Fighting the Good Ole Boys: Power, Political Parties and Women in Brazil and the Dominican Republic

Dissertation Project (in Development)*

In this project I am exploring women’s access to power in contemporary Brazil and the Dominican Republic. In the current context misogyny and patriarchy are insufficient structures for explaining why and how women occupy elected positions of power.

In Brazil, there has been success with a woman gaining access to the highest political position of power, the presidency, but overall across the government the number of women in electoral positions is low worldwide and within Latin America.

In the Dominican Republic, there has been more “across the board” success with a good number of women being represented across various electoral positions. However, looking deeper, the access and power that these women have varies. Especially considering the positions that many women hold in the vice or subordinate position.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

Women candidates being interviewed about their experiences running for office (May 2006).

With the above information in mind, the overarching question guiding this research is why after more than ten years of quotas are the numbers of women in politics still below the percentage these laws require? An addendum question to this one is, why are the majority of women who are in electoral political positions not in positions of power e.g., higher political offices and/or committees of critical importance? Funneling down again, why has Brazil who has low numbers of overall female political representation been able to elect a female president while the Dominican Republic who has higher numbers of women in political positions at all levels, including at the vice presidency, been unable to elect a female president?

* This page is currently under revision


2 thoughts on “My Research

  1. I’m coming to your project without any knowledge of South American politics – is it possible to provide a succinct narrative exposition of the quotas here so that the stakes of the question can be framed a bit more clearly /by that narrative/? Also, is part of the question whether it’s preferable to have outcomes like those in the DR versus those in Brazil? Are you asking about the relation between the relative prestige of the office that women achieve versus the degree to which women are represented in public offices?

    • Sean,

      Thanks for your comment. I probably could add at least a few sentences on that but ideally would have a longer explanation on a different page. I want something that anyone can read but I also want it to have the needed information for academics or practitioners in my research areas.

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