This book considers women's access to formal positions of powers in the newly formed democracies of post communist Europe. While acknowledging the relevance of recent history, this book takes an important step away from the communist legacy and explicitly argues for a framework based on causal variables identified in the existing literatures from industrialized democracies on women and politics and legislative recruitment After a brief introduction, the second
chapter sets forth a general theoretical framework, which posits that the level of female legislative representation in a given country is a function of the relative supply of and demand for female
candidates. After a chapter considering a broad overview of public opinion on women and politics in Eastern Europe, thirteen country chapters, spanning the spectrum of Eastern European democracies, address and test hypotheses about the key variables affecting the supply and demand sides of the equation in individual countries. Relevant aspects of the communist cultural and developmental legacy are addressed, but authors give particular attention to political factors, such as electoral rules and
the characteristics of the emerging party systems, that vary within the Eastern European countries. The new democracies of Eastern Europe provide a novel context in which to test and extend our
theories about the consequences of political institutions for the quality of democracy. Since institutional arrangements are more malleable than developmental or cultural characteristics, those variables also offer the greatest promise to scholars and practitioners wondering what can be done to improve women's access to formal arenas of political power? How can we build democracies that are stable, lasting and representative? A careful analysis of the post-communist context can help us to
address issues concerning institutional design and development that has relevance well beyond the Eastern European context.