Democratic institutions, women's movements, political opportunity theory, ireland, united states
This study examines the relationship between divided government and women's organizations' political activity. In the literature divided government is associated with political openness leading to a decline in the repression of alternative political views and increased organizational activity. In this thesis I hypothesize that divided government is related to increased participation in political activity by women's organizations. Political activity is expected to increase during periods of divided government due to increased opportunities to influence formal government as political parties and elected officials compete for public support. This study analyzes political activity by organizations associated with the women's movement in two developed democracies, the United States and Ireland during periods of (1) divided government and (2) periods of unified government in each country. This study focuses on activity revolving around the issues of reproductive rights and violence against women, two of the most salient issues to the women's movement. Organizational activity includes participation in protests, letter writing campaigns to political elites, and the endorsement of political candidates or parties by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and The Third Wave Foundation in the United States, and The National Women's Council of Ireland and The Irish Feminist Network in the Republic of Ireland. This study examines organizational activity in two cases of unified government controlling for partisanship of the executive, and one case of divided government in each country case. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that divided government is related to an increase in political activity by women's organizations in the United States. However, more research is needed to address alternative explanations for the level of political activity of women's organizations during periods of unified government. In addition, more research is needed to address explanations of political activity of women's organizations in Ireland.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Wilson, Alexandria, "The Effects of Divided Government on Women's Organizations' Political Activity in Developed Democracies" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6678.