Exploring how women overcome societal and cultural barriers to their political participation in a rapidly modernizing society, this book presents a case study of Taiwan, where strongly male-dominated social norms have come under increasing pressure from the effects of rapid economic growth over the past 35 years and form the regime's ideological commitment to sexual equality. The authors base much of their work on extensive interviews with all the women serving in the principal assemblies in Taiwan in 1985, a random matched sample of male legislators, and two smaller samples of women candidates who lost elections and women members of the 1970 assemblies. Their findings have mixed implications. On the positive side, for example, modernization clearly has helped to break down the obstacles of traditional gender roles and socialization patterns in the R.O.C. At the same time, however, most women became active in politics only with the benefit of special social circumstances, and the continuing discrimination against women points to the practical difficulties involved in enacting institutional reforms that would increase their representation, in Taiwan or anywhere else.