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How does women's activism contribute to gender earnings equality?

In this article, Cheol-Sung Lee and I examine how different repertoires of women’s activism influence gender earnings equality across countries. We develop a typology of three forms of mobilization— professionalized women’s activism, labor women’s activism, and women’s activism in popular movements—emphasizing distinct actors, patterns of claims-making, and inter-organizational ties among women’s organizations and other civil society groups in multi-organizational fields. Based on data on membership and co-membership ties built using World Values Surveys, we test the effects of different repertoires of women’s activism on earnings equality between women and men in 51 countries. We also consider a gendered development model and the role of welfare states as main explanatory variables in accounting for the gap in earnings.


Our findings suggest that even in the presence of these alternative explanations, women’s activism matters. Furthermore, women’s organizations with access to institutional politics, through either direct advocacy or ties to unions or professional associations, have had the most success in promoting gender earnings equality. Our research contributes to prior work on social movement outcomes by conceptualizing women’s mobilization in the context of fields and testing its effects on distributional outcomes in a comparative perspective.

Read the full article, here: "Pathways to Empowerment"

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