From the Cinderella of Soviet Modernization to the Post-Soviet Return to “National Traditions”: Women’s Rights in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia

This paper discusses in a comparative perspective the issues of women’s political participation in the countries of the South Caucasus focusing both on differences and common trends of policies toward women in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The analysis of the Soviet heritage in the area of women’s emancipation allows tracking the “logic” of post-Soviet transformations without fragmenting the post-Soviet experiences and pulling them out of context. This approach exposes which processes of the modern period are rooted in the Soviet past and which have fundamentally new sources. Attention is focused on the changes in the system of earmarked spaces for women (i.e. the quota system) and the discourses that are formed around this topic. The paper exposes perspectives impeding female leadership, and, on the contrary, promoting women’s political participation and involvement in the public sphere. The paper also deciphers what discursive or verbal, non-verbal, and other strategies women use in politics in order to be accepted professionally.

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