Does Gender Equality Matter? The Effect Of Gender Equality On Protest Campaign Success

Master thesis

Einen, Birthe (2022) Does Gender Equality Matter? The Effect Of Gender Equality On Protest Campaign Success. MA thesis, Political Science, University of Oslo, Oslo.

Read the MA thesis here

Why some protests succeed while others fail has been a central question in the mass mobilisation literature. Few studies, however, examine whether gender equality affects the likelihood of campaign success. This thesis draws on theoretical insights from the literature on armed conflict and terrorism and suggests a gendered argument on why resistance campaigns succeed. Particularly, I hypothesise that nonviolent resistance campaigns are more likely to achieve their goals where the level of gender equality is high. On the other hand, violent resistance campaigns have a higher probability of succeeding where gender equality is low. I theorise that this is due to the underlying mechanisms of norms promoting nonviolence or violence and the effect gender equality might have on opportunity structures favouring different forms of mobilisation. To examine the relationship between campaign success and gender equality, I specifically look at the effect of the Women’s Political Empowerment Index (WPEI) to further theorise about which specific aspects of gender equality shape protest outcomes. By utilising the Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes dataset (N = 2717) and logistic regression, I find a positive significant relationship between the level of women’s political empowerment and the likelihood of nonviolent campaign success and a negative significant relationship with violent campaign success. This indicates that the level of women’s political empowerment indeed affects whether resistance campaigns succeed and that this effect differs between protest tactics in the hypothesised direction. Overall, this thesis emphasises the importance of taking aspects of gender equality into account when seeking to understand collective action and adds to our knowledge of the structural elements that promote campaign success.

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