Janet Elise Johnson, Professor, Political Science, Brooklyn College, CUNY
“The Gender of Informal Politics:
Russia, Iceland and Twenty-First Century Male Dominance”
GENDER and TRANSFORMATION: WOMEN in EUROPE Workshop
Co-sponsored by the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
Friday, Oct. 13, 2017
4:30 to 6:00PM
Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, NYU, 53 Washington Square South, 3rd floor (new location)
Janet Elise Johnson is Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and Visiting Scholar, Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, New York University. Her books include Gender Violence in Russia: The Politics of Feminist Intervention and Living Gender after Communism. In the last few years, she has published articles in Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Social Policy, Politics & Gender, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and Signs: Journals of Women in Culture and Society as well as online in The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, Boston Review, and The New Yorker.
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.