WRRS AND MENA POLITICS JOINT EVENT - Women and electoral politics in Iran and Turkey: Undemocratic structures and feminist resistance

Abstract: Advocates of women’s rights have long demanded women’s greater access to political office, especially the national parliament, with hopes to influence policy making with feminist agendas. However, feminist activists’ focus on electoral politics has been mixed in autocratic and patriarchal contexts. While some research pointed to the role of critical actors in policy making who act as feminist insiders, others warned about the futility of such intentions in undemocratic contexts. Comparing Iran and Turkey in recent decades, Dr. Tajali highlights the complexities of women’s substantive representation in autocratic contexts by mapping out various forms of feminist resistance as well as state backlash and overall democratic recession. This analysis helps shed light onto the conditions that led to the recent women-led protests in Iran and Turkey.

Bio: Mona Tajali is an Associate Professor of International Relations and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Agnes Scott College, and a visiting scholar at the Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford Univeristy (2023-2024). She is the author of Women’s Political Representation in Iran and Turkey: Demanding a Seat at the Table (Edinburgh University Press 2022). Dr. Tajali is also a long-term collaborator with transnational solidarity network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, and since 2019, serves as a member of its executive board. She is published in both academic and popular outlets, among them, the Middle East Journal, Politics & Gender, The Conversation, and The Washington Post.

This event is a joint event with the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies.