Linking Environment, Democracy and Gender: Volume 20


Table of contents

(14 chapters)

It is well established in political theory that democracy promotes inclusive citizenship most especially politically – the right to vote and be voted for. This thesis is predicated upon the assumption that democracy is basically a representative government where all identities and interests are accommodated and/or tolerated in the politics and policy processes of their society. This chapter challenges the foundation of this assumption, using the Nigerian legislature's experience under the Fourth Republic (1999–2007), where the democratization process has failed to bring about substantial increase not only in women's numerical representation in parliament, but also in their ability to improve their participation in the politics and policy processes particularly those that advance women's cause. The central argument of the chapter is that for democracy to engender active representation of women in the politics and policy process of their environment will be largely dependent on women's numerical strength and their mode of ascension to power – their politics or affirmative action. Wherever the latter prevails, only passive, not active representation, will be prompted, as has so far been the case in Nigeria and most other African countries. This equates democratization of disempowerment for women.

Dacha is a Russian term for a country house (cottage, shack) used for summer habitation by Russian town-dwellers, or dachniki. With the societal changes that have brought lower and lower levels of society into the field of the dachniki, the dacha has been playing an increasing role in channeling Russian people's energy away from the political sphere. Being a repository of enjoyment and entertainment for the relatively few and serving as economic and spiritual escapism for the many, the dacha, consequently, could be hampering the creation of a civil society in Russia.

The constitutional democracy was instrumental in bringing the question of gender equality in the forefront of public attention in Nepal. Feminist advocate claim that democracy requires the empowerment of women so that they can establish new knowledge and means to assert their rights, voice, and participation in the equal world. Otherwise, the democratic ideals of constitution would become a mere utopia. Feminists also view that legal equality would be useless if actual inequalities in practice continue to discriminate women in everyday life. The chapter attempts to delve into the following question.

How does a society value the role of women? Does it value it as much as the role of men? Are all women similarly valued or is there differentiation by caste, class and ethnicity? What are the factors impeding or favoring the greater participation of women in political activities? How can women play a greater role in initiating changes, which will facilitate larger political, economic and institutional space for them?

We examine the extent to which female politicians highlight their status as women by identifying with women as a group and using female roles and experiences to describe themselves. Based on a qualitative content analysis of female members’ congressional web pages, we find that sex-group identification and gender roles are selectively used in discussions of their personal lives, their paths to Congress, and their experiences within Congress. Variation among the female politicians suggests they are responding to a range of normative gender beliefs among the electorate. There is also evidence that some of the women use online forms of communication to change the discourse about women in politics.

Based on more than 100 years of Russia's social, economic, and political experience and delving into its political parties’ subjective intentions, the chapter makes an attempt to examine the relevance to the country's twentieth to twenty-first reality of their theoretical battles in which parties of the present have been proclaiming their programs.

This chapter describes the situation of Polish women in the process of democratic transition in Poland. Its analysis includes the participation of women in political life, the activities of women's organizations, and the social situation of Polish women. The first part of this work concerns the period of real socialism; analyzes the main points of the media discussion about the problems of women in processes of democratization in 1989; the political system after 1989, including a possible guarantee in achieving the quota of female representation on electoral lists, which certainly will increase the political representation of women in Polish political institutions.

Paper recycling is an environment friendly technology used worldwide. The process involves turning waste paper into new paper products. According to the Society for Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA), the process includes shredding of waste paper, soaking the shredded paper in water overnight, feeding the shredded soaked paper inside the hydrapulper, transforming wet material into pulp, forming pulp into required and specified size of paper, squeezing out excess water from wet paper, drying the wet sheet on cloth, removing the paper from the cloth, cutting paper into definite size, and finally manufacturing the product. Handmade paper can be used for making different paper products. This simple technology can reduce environment degradation, produce cost-effective paper, inculcate skill development, and create livelihoods. This chapter highlights a specific activity initiated in 2007 by the author in the capacity of then director, UGC Centre for Women Studies, BITS, Pilani. The activity involved setting up the TARA Mini Paper Recycling Unit, sponsored by the UGC Centre for Women Studies, BITS, Pilani, training 10 rural women on the process of making paper from waste paper and making end products out of recycled paper. The outcome of this activity was economic empowerment and helping women acquire skills of making paper from waste paper.

Although there are many journalistic accounts of ongoing political events narrating about pro-democratic or antiauthoritarian movements, such as strikes, riots, and protest letters, not many scholarly analyses devote attention to the longitudinal analysis of the preceding events that lead to a spur of protests. Not many scholars account or are able to account for the activity of political dissidents that is often hidden, purposely censored, and covered from public eye. Most frequently, until the street strike and riots, the degree of spread of dissident activity within a country is unknown to scholars. It is equally difficult to find information about the national and international networks that political activists form to gain support and acceptance of their acclamations, propositions, and calls for political or economic reforms. Furthermore, only access to dissident press allows researchers to glimpse the activity of existing organizations looking at issues censored by existing governments.

The contemporary discussions on global warming led to a rapid spread of studies on environmental protection from green technology, recycling, gas omission, environmental pollution, to debates on alternative energy. With many studies addressing the impact of environmental pollution on our recent and future life the need to provide deeper analysis of such impact requires new scholarly attention. Within such focus could be placed studies of this volume that aim to enhance scholarly contribution to merge the few most pressing problems of the contemporary social sciences: the issues of diffusing democracy and its societal outcomes, the issues of our endangered natural environment and gender inequality in a global world. This study provides a glimpse into these three issues looking at the exiting links, interactions and interconnections between these aspects of scholarly and policy work.

Publication date
Book series
Research in Political Sociology
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN