Women's participation in parliaments, high courts, and executiveoffices worldwide has reached record high numbers, but thisglobal increase in women's representation masks significant variationamong different democratic political systems. For example, inDecember of 2009, Rwanda's legislature contained 56% women,while the U.S. Congress contained only about 17% and the JapaneseDiet had only 11%. Since 2000, only twenty-seven womenhave achieved executive office worldwide. Contagious Representationis a comprehensive look at women's participation in all aspectsof public life in the main democratic political institutions-the executive,the judiciary, the legislature, and within political parties. Moving beyond studies of single countries and institutions, ContagiousRepresentation presents original data from 159 democraticcountries spanning 50 years, providing a comprehensive understandingof women in democracies worldwide. The first volume tooffer an analysis on all avenues for women's participation for sucha lengthy time period, Contagious Representation examines notonly the causes of women's representation in the main democraticpolitical institutions but also how women's representation in oneinstitution affects the others. Each chapter contains case studiesand examples of the change in women's participation over timefrom around the world. Thames and Williams definitively explainthe rise, decline, or stagnant levels of women's political participation,considering how representation is contagious across politicalinstitutions and gaining a better understanding of what factors affectwomen's political participation.
Women's Political Representation in Democracies around the World