GLOBAL SOJOURNERS: WOMEN’S POLITICAL EFFICACY AND POLITICAL AMBITION IN THE FACE OF POLITICAL CYNICISM AND GENDER BARRIERS
Easley-Giraldo, Terri Michelle
University of Kansas
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Despite progress that has been made worldwide regarding female political participation, the question of why more women do not enter the political arena remains. This study explored how women from MMIAPEZ (Mongolia, Morocco, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Zambia) discursively construct obstacles and barriers to their participation in politics, as well as their political interest and ability to participate in politics. Fifty-eight in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with young women from seven different countries. Using a qualitative approach and thematic analysis, this study uncovered three themes. First, MMIAPEZ women revealed the multi-faceted gender barriers that exist for female political participation in their countries. Second, MMIAPEZ women demonstrated high levels of political cynicism which was articulated by apathy and an active avoidance of politics. Finally, MMIAPEZ women generally expressed lower levels of political ambition and political efficacy which was articulated by their skeptical outlook towards politics. This study also conducted a follow-up survey at the end of the leadership institute to examine potential discursive shifts about their political interest and political efficacy. This study suggests that while encouraging women to run for political office is still an important goal, in countries such as MMIAPEZ, encouraging participation in the civil sphere may be more advantageous for young women with low political efficacy.
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