Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Virginia
Women's rights in the global South, democratization, identity politics, quotas, feminism and feminist theory, multiculturalism, customary law, polygamy, South African politics, women's movements and non-governmental organizations, indigenous politics in Canada, Muslim women in Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, diversity and discrimination in political science and the academy, gender-based violence
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

I am an Associate Professor of Politics and Women, Gender & Sexuality at the University of Virginia. My research focuses on how liberal democracies can become more inclusive and just. My current book project, Nationalizing Rights, is a comparative study of controversies over multiculturalism and women’s rights. I investigate polygamy in South Africa, indigenous women’s expulsion from the reservation in Canada, and the face veil ban in France. My first book, Women’s Rights in Democratizing States (Cambridge University Press, 2010), explains how democratic institutions like legislatures, political parties, and the media obstruct advances in women’s rights through a comparison of South Africa, Poland, and Chile.

Recent Publications

Women’s Rights in Democratizing States: Just Debate and Gender Justice in the Public Sphere, (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics.

“A Feminist Approach to Quotas and Comparative Politics,” Critical Perspectives on Gender and Politics: Gender Quotas and Comparative Politics, Politics & Gender 9 (3) 2013: 322-328.

“Party Centralization and Debate Conditions in South Africa,” in The Impact of Gender Quotas: Women’s Descriptive, Substantive, and Symbolic Representation, edited by Susan Franceschet, Mona Lena Krook and Jennifer Piscopo, (Oxford University Press, 2012).

“Does the Quality of Democracy Matter for Women’s Rights? The Public Sphere and Democratic Transition in Chile and South Africa,” Comparative Political Studies, 45 (11) 2012: 1323-1350 (lead article, Online First, March 2012).

Carol Mershon and Denise Walsh, “Organizing Women: Diversifying Leadership and Addressing Discrimination in Political Science Departments,” PS: Political Science & Politics (3) 2015: 459-463.

Carol Mershon and Denise Walsh, “How Political Science Can Become More Diverse,” Introduction to symposium for PS: Political Science & Politics (3) 2015: 441-444.

Carol Mershon and Denise Walsh, “Political Science, Heal Thyself,” Introduction for Critical Perspectives on Advocating for Change in the Discipline, Politics & Gender 10 (3) 2014: 432-437.


Media Coverage

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Legal Theory Blog, Democracy in Africa Blog, Washington Post, NBC 29, Radio Tropicale, The Daily Progress, Charlottesville Woman, Iris,, Bustle, The Establishment. 

UVa Women’s Center, “Interview with Denise Walsh: Women in Combat,” (video available on youtube)

Country Focus
South Africa, Chile, Poland, Canada, France

Research Areas

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