Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

The Evils of Polygyny

June 13, 2018

The Evils of Polygyny: Evidence of Its Harm to Women, Men, and Society by Rose McDermott was recently published by Cornell University Press. 

In her new book, Rose McDermott examines one powerful structural factor that instigates, enforces, and replicates patterns of male dominance: the practice of polygyny. Drawing on years of research, The Evils of Polygyny delves into the violent impact of polygyny on women, children, and the nation-state, and adds fundamentally to the burgeoning focus on gender concerns in political psychology and international relations. Integrating these fields, as well as domestic policy and human rights, McDermott urges us to address the question of violence toward women and children. If we do not, a system that tells young women they must marry whom their elders dictate and devote their entire lives to serving others will continue to plague the contemporary world, and restrict development.

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