Why Gender Matters in Southeast Asia Politics

By R. Verma
September 2011
MD Publications
Distributed by

ISBN: 9788175333598
293 pages

$35.00 Paper original

The 11 countries of Southeast Asia include over 550 million people. Despite great linguistic and cultural diversity, the region is characterized by the relatively favorable position of women in comparison with neighboring East or South Asia. From the late nineteenth century nationalist movements developed across Southeast Asia. Male leaders focused on political independence, but educated women were equally concerned with polygamy, divorce, domestic abuse and the financial responsibilities of fathers.

The end of World War II signaled the demise of European colonialism in Southeast Asia. Theoretically, the independent states that emerged over the next 15 years were committed to gender equality, but this has rarely been translated into reality. In recent years the number of women holding public office has increased, especially in local government, but only in the Philippines has female representation in national government risen above 10 per cent. Greater female involvement in politics is impeded by the way candidates are recruited as well as entrenched attitudes that see women s primary role as that of wife and mother.


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