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Episode #40 - March 2022

In a recent article for Foreign Affairs, Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks argue that Authoritarians repress women's rights for more than just chauvinism, but because they actually "fear" the power women hold in creating lasting democratic change through pro-democracy movements. In this episode, we discuss why women help to make these movements so successful and what this means for the prospects of democracy around the world. In a time when authoritarianism is on the rise and women's rights are being rolled back by these same governments, it is important to understand how these issues intersect.

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Zoe MarksZoe Marks - A Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research and teaching interests focus on the intersections of conflict and political violence; race, gender and inequality; peacebuilding; and African politics.

Her current book project examines the internal dynamics of rebellion in Sierra Leone to understand how and why rebel groups can sustain a viable threat to the state without widespread support. It draws on nearly a decade of fieldwork, several hundred interviews with former combatants and community members, and private archives from members of the Revolutionary United Front. Professor Marks is leading a separate project that examines how wartime experiences shape individual wellbeing and community reintegration after war. Using surveys and social network analysis in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the project compares peaceful and protracted conflict settings, respectively, to explain how mobilization for violence affects prospects for poverty alleviation and peace.

Erica ChenowethErica Chenoweth
- the Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard Kennedy School and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. They study political violence and its alternatives. At Harvard, Chenoweth directs the Nonviolent Action Lab, an innovation hub that provides empirical evidence in support of movement-led political transformation.

Chenoweth has authored or edited nine books and dozens of articles on mass movements, nonviolent resistance, terrorism, political violence, revolutions, and state repression. Their recent book, Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2021), explores what civil resistance is, how it works, why it sometimes fails, how violence and repression affect it, and the long-term impacts of such resistance. Their next book with Zoe Marks, Rebel XX: Women on the Frontlines of Revolution, investigates the impact of women’s participation on revolutionary outcomes and democratization. Chenoweth maintains the NAVCO Data Project, one of the world’s leading datasets on historical and contemporary mass mobilizations around the globe. Along with Jeremy Pressman, Chenoweth also co-directs the Crowd Counting Consortium, a public interest and scholarly project that documents political mobilization in the U.S. since January 2017.

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