The Informal Politics of Gender: Russia, Iceland and Twenty-first Century Male Dominance

Monday, October 22, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S354

This book argues that the primary political obstacle holding women back in the twenty-first century is a bait and switch promising but simultaneously undercutting gender equality. Through a comparison of Russia and Iceland, the book shows how this revised form of male dominance came about, how it constrains feminisms, and how activists are beginning to fight back. It argues that while feminist movements have made it harder for most countries to maintain formal rules discriminating against women, economic liberalization strengthened male-dominated elites in informal institutions. These elites offer women prominent roles as policymakers and in non-governmental organizations, but then box them in with little room to represent women’s interests. Activists’ attempts to shame countries for ignoring problems such as violence against women result in new laws, but, lacking the necessary funding and enforcement, violence and inequality intensify. Explaining this paradox is the principal focus for social scientists, policymakers, and activists concerned with gender equality, women's social inclusion, and human rights. 

Janet Elise Johnson is Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, USA, and Visiting Scholar, Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, New York University. Her books include Gender Violence in Russia (2009) and Living Gender after Communism (2006).


Janet Johnson, Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.