Date of Award

1-29-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer L. McCoy - Chair

Second Advisor

Kim D. Reimann

Third Advisor

Peter Lindsay

Abstract

This study examined the process of gender policy reform. It sought to explain how and when gender policy reform has taken place in Venezuela across time. The study entailed observations of gender policy reform during specific periods of Punto Fijo democracy (1958-1998) characterized by democratic consolidation and deconsolidation, and during the transition towards a new type of hybrid democracy, the Chávez era (1999-2007). The policies considered were the ones addressing women’s equality at home and at work, reproductive rights, women’s economic rights, and political participation. The analysis showed that the likelihood of gender policy reform depends on the combination of certain institutional configurations that provide women access to the decision-making process of the state, but most importantly to women’s groups’ capacity to organize a broad coalition of women from civil society and from within the state apparatus behind to push for a reform by using frames based on international agreed norms that legitimized their struggle. In addition, the analysis reveals the negative influence of religious groups with decision-making power on the process of gender policy reform.

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