Secondary links

User links


Gender Equality in Political Transition: An Annotated Bibliography

UNDP Oslo Governance Centre
Publication year: 
Source of the information: 


This annotated bibliography captures an array of issues that writers and commentators have covered in their gender perspective of democratic transitions. Yet it is in no way an exhaustive bibliography.

The purpose of this annotated bibliography

This exercise intended to respond to several questions: What can the literature tell us about the elements and constellations of forces, actors and specific actions and policy interventions that would lead to better gender-equality outcomes after democratic transitions? How can new openings and opportunities provided by transitions from autocratic rule to more democratic forms of governance result in gains for women and gender equality, rather than undermine them? What does the literature to date tell us about how to sustain the gains and voices of women who were central to revolutions and uprising in the Arab world?

The path taken to assemble this annotated bibliography

To engage with the first two questions, the search of available literature covered regions with a history of democratic transition, such as Latin America and Eastern and Central Europe, as well as countries, some in Muslim-majority populations (Indonesia and Turkey) and two in Africa (Namibia and South Africa). The literature review focused on the forces, actors and conditions that could shepherd opportunity for improved gender equality outcomes in post-political transition periods. Regarding the interest in Arab country experiences, the research looked for literature capturing the early involvement of women in what is now referred to as the Arab Spring and analysis of what a transition might bring in terms of gender equalities and inequalities, the latter being more pronounced in writings on Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.

The structure

The annotated bibliography begins with a synthesis of the six themes that guided the search for literature. The pieces are arranged alphabetically and numbered, with selected documents referenced in one or more of the themes. Two tables at the end enable locating work related to a theme or one of the six geographical regions represented in the collection. Based on examination of the selected writings, the final section of the synthesis highlights gaps in the issues covered and possible areas for future research that could open more light on addressing gender equality during and after political transition. In the context of the large-scale changes in the Arab world, research has a fundamental and imperative place. As Jaquette and Wolchick point out, “…because transition politics are periods of crisis and thus of intense politicization, they bring new ideas and institutions into life ... they provide a rare window on how social structures underlie political structures and practices.”