Why Women Make a Difference in Social Movements

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As the past few months have shown, social movements and mass mobilization across race, gender and class can have very real political impacts.

And the impacts of these social movements can be even more effective when led by women—according to Erica Chenoweth, a professor of political science at Harvard who studies civil resistance.

Thousands rallied during the March For Racial Justice in Washington D.C., September 30, 2017. (Stephen Melkisethian / Flickr)

But why?

Well, for one, women employ more effective leadership and resistance techniques. Chenoweth’s research highlights the historical tendency of women to lead nonviolent movements, and credits the success of women-led movements to that tendency.

Chenoweth also raises the point that social movements which center women’s voices and leadership attract more women supporters—which means that on a fundamental…

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