Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Timothy Nordstrom

Second Advisor

Heather Ondercin

Relational Format



Recent research concerning women and politics focuses on identifying what factors cause and stimulate women participation in politics. This thesis uses the indicators for Millennium Development Goals 3 and 5 as a measurement basis for an empirical study to determine if certain factors effect women participation in Latin American politics. Data for these goals, to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Improve Maternal Health, were collected for various Latin American countries across a 2000-2015 time series. Along with this data collection, this thesis focuses on testing two specific factors to determine their effectiveness on women representation in Latin America. These two factors are women participation in parliament and women participation in social movement. For the first factor, this thesis records each country's number of women in parliament, the existence of any gender quotas in that country, and the existence of female heads of states in any of those countries from 2000-2015. The second factor is constructed from various sources that indicate social movement presence in each country from 2000-2015. This thesis argues that the presence of these two factors increases success for the indicators of MDGs 3 and 5. This thesis begins with a review of literature surveying existing trends of women studies and politics along with providing arguments and support for the two factors tested in this thesis. After this literature review is an analysis of the descriptive statistics of MDGs 3 and 5 followed by a variable analysis of the aforementioned factors. Finally, this thesis concludes that women in parliament is an important factor resulting in positive outcomes for the indicators of MDGs 3 and 5.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.



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