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BWLN Symposium: Women’s Rights and Backsliding Democracies
April 14 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
The United States was designated a backsliding democracy in late 2021, when it appeared on a prominent European think tank’s annual global ranking. Today, half of the world’s democratic governments are on the decline according to a 2022 report, The Global State of Democracy.
Around the same time the U.S. made its debut on the list—still six months before the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, but with Texas S.B.8 already in effect, rendering abortion care all but inaccessible in the nation’s second most populous state—advocates raised real-time questions about the correlation between regression on abortion rights and degraded democracies. A New York Times article asserted that such a descent is precisely when “curbs on women’s rights tend to accelerate.”
We think that’s a proposition worth flipping on its head. Are democracies that have abysmal records on gender equity destined to falter? According to the United Nations, the trajectory of “de-democratization” is rarely analyzed initially through the distinct lens of gender equity and there are insufficient efforts to systematically examine the current implications. Our symposium will engage this critical conversation.