After Women's Rights: The Consequences of Gender Equality Reforms

My dissertation examines the consequences of the adoption of women’s rights reforms by regimes for subsequent contestation among political actors, the evolution of social norms, and the economic empowerment of women. The project combines in-depth qualitative research conducted over 12 months in Morocco, analysis of existing data on legal reform and public opinion, and evidence from an original survey and experiment. I first theorize the meso- and micro-level consequences of the expansion of women’s rights amid ambiguous public support. I analyze qualitatively how this context has shaped the way advocates for and opponents of women’s rights in Morocco have adapted their goals and strategies over time. I test hypotheses about how citizen encounters with the state and civil society unevenly affect perceived local and global social norms of gender equality, while potentially heightening the risk of backlash against individual women. I also explore the relationship of these dynamics to women’s economic inclusion, focusing on the Moroccan case.