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Mala Htun

Professor of Political Science, University of New Mexico
Chapter Member: New Mexico SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Mala

Htun’s work focuses on how states create, and reduce, social inequalities along the lines of gender, race, and ethnicity. She has conducted research on when and why governments around the world promote women’s rights, on when and why governments adopt policies to promote the inclusion of women and ethnic minorities in elected office, and is beginning a project on the social determinants of gaps in maternal-child health. She has worked as a consultant and advisor to inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations seeking to advance women’s rights around the world.


In the News

"Legislating Affirmative Consent is Misguided," Mala Htun, Albuquerque Journal, February 4, 2019.
Mala Htun's research on gender disadvantage, women’s economic agency, and global public good discussed by Carolyn Gonzales, "UNM's Mala Htun Receives New Andrew Carnegie Fellowship," UNM Newsroom, April 21, 2015.
"Political Science Plays Crucial Role in Public Policy," Mala Htun, Albuquerque Journal, July 11, 2012.


"Intersectional Disadvantage and Political Inclusion: Getting More Afrodescendant Women into Elected Office in Latin America," Inter-American Development Bank, Gender and Diversity Division, Program for Women’s Leadership and Representation, 2012.
Analyzes the situation of minority women in Latin America, worldwide efforts to promote the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups, and proposes policy recommendations to increase Afrodescendant women’s access to elected office. Also published in Spanish as: “Desventaja interseccional e inclusión política.”
"Political Inclusion of Marginalized Groups: Gender Parity and Indigenous Reservations in Bolivia" (with Juan Pablo Ossa). Politics, Groups, and Identities 1, no. 1 (March 2013): 4-25.
Adopts an intersectional approach to social differences to analyze why the indigenous-led Bolivian government approved gender parity laws but ceded only a token number of reserved parliamentary seats to the indigenous movement.
"Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence Against Women in Global Perspective" (with S. Laurel Weldon). American Political Science Review 106, no. 3 (August 2012): 548-569.
Identifies autonomous feminist mobilization in civil society as the main factor pushing governments to combat violence against women, through comparative analysis of 70 countries over four decades.
"Explaining Sex Equality in Family Law: Historical Legacies, Feminist Activism, and Religious Power in 70 Countries," (with S. Laurel Weldon), World Development Report 2012 Background Paper, World Bank, March 31, 2011.
Documents the enduring sex discrimination in family laws worldwide, and identifies the historical and political factors promoting egalitarian change.
"When do Governments Promote Women’s Rights? A Framework for the Comparative Analysis of Sex Equality Policy" (with S. Laurel Weldon). Perspectives on Politics 8, no. 1 (March 2010): 207-216.
Introduces the Htun-Weldon typology of gender equality policies.
"Is Gender Like Ethnicity? The Political Representation of Identity Groups" Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 3 (September 2004): 439-458.

Argues that different institutional remedies are logically appropriate for differently situated groups; explains how policies to promote women’s inclusion differ systematically from those applied to minority ethnic groups.