Democratization and Women's Rights in Post-Soviet Nations

Open Access
Hamsher, Teressa Diana
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Gretchen Casper, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
  • women's right
  • international politics
  • USSR
  • Soviet
  • democratization
  • democracy
Why did some Post-Soviet States progress more positively regarding levels of democracy and levels of women’s rights compared to others? This paper examines this question in two parts by studying different political, social, and economic variables and their effect on democracy and women’s rights levels. The first part is a quantitative analysis that examines the relationships between GDP, Muslim population size, and international organization membership and democracy levels, measured by Polity scores, and women’s rights levels, measured by V-Dem women’s empowerment scores. The results suggest a negative relationship between size of Muslim population and both dependent variables and an insignificant relationship between GDP and both dependent variables. The results for international organization membership vary by the type of organization, with membership to economic and “western” international organizations having a positive relationship with the dependent variables, and membership to a “non-western” international organization having a negative relationship to both dependent variables. The second part of this paper, the qualitative analysis, provides further context as to why Muslim population size had a negative effect on women’s rights as well as explores the effect of violent conflict on women’s rights. The results from both analyses contribute knowledge, understanding, and context within which to discuss how and why Post-Soviet nations have experienced such divergent histories since their independence.