Polities are not gender-neutral entities. Democracies, autocracies, states and nations are gendered constructions that have important gender implications for people and societies. Feminist analyses of polities ask the question: does polity matter for gender equality? And if so, how? (see Tripp 2013). From different approaches they have shown that the ways in which democracies and autocracies treat women and men defines the kind of polity they are, and the individual rights and opportunities that they open or close off. For example, the quality of a democratic polity is related to the extent to which women are included in polities as peers with men, can exercise popular control over a polity equally with others, and are authoritatively recognized in their claims (Galligan 2015). Autocratic polities can also be differentiated in relation to the degree of women’s autonomy that they afford (Tripp 2001, 2013). States and nations have long been at the core of political analysis. For past decades the existence and relevance of the state as a central Western form of organizing the polity has been called into question. The state has been argued to have lost its powers as a result of globalization and to have been transformed by neoliberalization and transnational governance. At the same time, though, it has constantly been brought back to political analyses (Skocpol 1979) and has been argued to have never lost its relevance but rather suffered from ideological battles and hegemonic discourses about its ‘withering away’ (Hay, Lister and Marsh 2005).
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