Malliga Och, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Idaho State University

Year of PhD: 2016

Phone: 2082823717

Address: 921 South 8th Avenue, Stop 806

City: Pocatello, Idaho - 83209

Country: United States

About Me:

I am an Associate Professor of Global Studies at Idaho State University where I teach international and comparative politics. In my free time, I am the co-host of Know Your Media, a monthly radio show on the role of media in today's society which is aired by KISU public radio. You can listen to past shows on #MeToo, the Year of the Woman, and many more topics on the show's website.Before life in academia, I was the Research Director of Political Parity, a former program of Hunt Alternatives in Cambridge MA and the former Co-Chair of the Denver for CEDAW Campaign, a program by the United Nations Association USA which urges US cities to adopt the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination as defined in the UN Convention to End All forms of Discrimination Against Women in city ordinances. I have been an active committee member for organizations such as NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, The White House Project, Vote Run Lead, NAAAP, Big Sister Boston, the Blossom Project, and the United Nations Association Denver. I am the 2018 recipient of Deborah "Misty" Gerner Award for Professional Development given by Women's Caucus for International Studies of the International Studies Association as well as the 2018 recipient of the Yellow Rose given by Zonta International Pocatello Club for her contribution in the community to advance women’s equality. 

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

European Politics

Representation and Electoral Systems

Women And Politics

Republican Women

Christian Democracy

German Politics

Conservative Women

Election Of Women

Women And Elections

Women In Parliament

Women's Political Representation

Women's Political Recruitment

Corporate Gender Equality

Gender And Partisanship

Gender And Politics

Gender Equality Laws

Work-family Policies

Countries of Interest


United States


United Kingdom

My Research:

I'm an expert on women in conservative parties both in the United States and in other advanced industrialized countries. Shauna Shames and I are the co-editors of The Right Women: Republican Activists, Candidates, and Lawmakers (Praeger Press 2018) and several op-eds on the lack of Republican Women in Office including the Huffington Post and The Conversation. I have been quoted in USA Today, the Philadelphia Inquier, Public Radio International, and VICE news on the same subject matter. As the former Research Director of Political Parity, a former program of the Hunt Alternative Fund, I supervised research projects exploring innovative strategies to increase the number of women in US Politics, including the Primary Hurdles report which underlies the particular barriers GOP women face in the primary process. I am a German native and my research focuses on women's representation in Christian Democratic parties, particular in Germany where I have explored the reasons behind Angela Merkel's support for feminist policies with a particular focus on parental leave and corporate board quotas. You can read my op-eds on gender and populist right parties in Europe (co-authored with Jennifer Piscopo) in The Conversation and the Duck of Minerva Blog. My work has also been featured in leading German outlets such as the GIZ Akzente Magazin and LIBERAL, the magazin of the Friedrich Neumann Stiftung.


Journal Articles:

(2021) Feminism, Identities, and the Substantive Representation of Women on the Right – Crafting a Global Dialogue, Politics Groups and Identities

Conservative parties across the globe are confronted with how to respond to feminist demands both from within their own parties, competing parties, and from civil society. This Dialogue section illustrates how conservative parties across the Global North and the Global South respond to feminist demands by co-opting or resisting feminist ideas with conservative values in political discourse and policy initiatives.

(2021) Squaring the Feminist Circle. Feminist Labels vs. Feminist Behavior in the German Christian Democratic Union, Politics Groups and Identities

The German Christian Democratic Party has emerged as a new feminist space within German politics, characterized by a strong backing of feminist claims and a simultaneous rejection of the feminist label. Instead, Frauen Union members refer to feminist issues in a variety of different terms such as Querschnittsaufgabe (cross-cutting policy issue) and express long-standing stereotypes of feminists such as man hating or bra-burning women, while simultaneously promoting feminist policies such as electoral and corporate board quotas.

(2020) Sell-Outs or Warriors for Change? A Comparative Look at Rightist, Political Women in Democracies, Journal of Women Politics and Policy

This special issue aims to explore some of the emerging research work on right-wing women across democratic countries. The compiled articles here demonstrate their skill, effort, and strategy in attempting to represent voters, advance party goals, and increase their numbers within party ranks. In many instances, however, this work is unrecognized, undervalued, and unappreciated by voters, colleagues, and party leaders. Rightist women operate within systems that are not receptive to recognizing their group-based claims – organizing as right women – which makes it more difficult to gain allies and traction for their demands. These women themselves may in fact reject the very idea of group-based claims, as a central tenet of classical political thought (one at the heart of modern conservatism) is that the individual is the unit of analysis. And on a systemic level, some systems seem to work better for rightist women than others – it is incumbent on us as political scientists to ask what works and where. Overall, this endeavor seeks a better understanding of this underrepresented segment of the electorate and their representatives.

(2020) Manterrupting in the German Bundestag. Gendered Opposition to Female Members of Parliament?, Politics and Gender

The problem of manterrupting, i.e. men interrupting women to take control of a conversation, claiming superior knowledge, or discrediting women's arguments, has garnered major attention in social and traditional media. Yet scholarly accounts of gendered speech interruption patterns in parliamentary debates are less common. In this article, I argue that manterrupting can be considered a form of resistance against women in politics and, in its worst iteration, prevent female representatives from representing women's interests. This article will analyze the problem of ‘manterrupting’ regarding parliamentary debates in Germany by investigating the nature and extent of male interruptions during parliamentary debates in the 17th legislative period. Drawing on insights from social psychology and masculinity studies, this article finds that in the case of Germany, manterruptions are neither systemic and frequent enough to constitute a form of resistance against women in politics nor do they prevent female representatives from engaging in the substantive representation of women.

(2019) Early birds, short tenures, and the double squeeze: how gender and age intersect with parliamentary representation, Politics Groups and Identities

The gender and age composition of a parliament impacts who is descriptively represented and marginalized and what types of policy ideas and solutions are brought forward or excluded. While important for both descriptive and substantive representation, scholarship on the intersection of gender and age in parliaments has thus far been limited. To broaden our understanding, we conducted a large-scale cross-sectional analysis of the gender and ages of over 20,000 representatives from 78 national assemblies. We identified four types of gender-age patterns depending on whether women enter legislatures younger than men (“early birds”) or have served in parliament for a shorter period of time than men (“short tenures”). Most surprisingly, we found few countries exhibit the predicted “double squeeze” pattern whereby women enter parliament older than men and have shorter tenures. Lastly, since most women enter parliament after child-bearing age, we conclude that the motherhood penalty still exists.

(2019) Conservative Feminists? An Exploration of Feminist Arguments in Parliamentary Debates of the Bundestag, Parliamentary Affairs

Past studies have shown that conservative governments and parties are unlikely places for women’s representation, especially for feminist policy adoption. Contrary to existing studies, this article argues that conservative governments can be places for feminist interests’ representation. To demonstrate this, I analyse the parliamentary discourse surrounding two instances of feminist policy adoption under Germany’s conservative government in 2006 and 2015, respectively. I find that in both instances, feminist arguments dominated the debates and, most importantly, that these findings still hold when controlling for party ideology.

(2018) Womenomics under Abe's Leadership Signs of Feminisation of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party?, Representation

Japanese Prime Minister Abe is known for his efforts to advance gender equality through womenomics. This seems to put Japan in line with other countries where conservative leaders have embraced gender equality to win back young and female voters and to modernise the image of conservative parties. While electoral calculation drives feminisation in the majority of cases, we argue that this is not the case in Japan. Instead, economic and international pressures are more important drivers than electoral calculations.

(2018) The local diffusion of international human rights norms – understanding the cities for CEDAW campaign, International Feminist Journal of Politics

While the international human rights norm literature has revolved mainly around the diffusion and implementation of human rights at the national and global level, less is known how international human rights norms are adopted on the local level. To fill this gap, this article will focus on the Cities for Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) campaign which encourages cities in the United States to adopt ordinances incorporating principles set forth by UN CEDAW. This article will analyze how the Cities for CEDAW campaign frames international gender norms to make them relevant in local contexts. Drawing on original interviews with Cities for CEDAW activists, this article will further our understanding how local human rights activists can utilize international human rights treaties to integrate human rights norms on the local level.

(2008) “Talking about my Generation and Class? Unpacking the Descriptive Representation of Women in Asian Parliaments.”, elsevier

Since women (like men) differ in their interests and perspectives, we argue, that studies of the descriptive representation of women in politics ought to consider not only how many women are elected, but also which segments of the female population are proportionally represented and under-represented. Applying this framework to new data on the demographic characteristics of over 4000 members of parliament from sixteen countries in Asia, we find female MPs typically unrepresentative of their country's female populations at the pivotal intersections of social class and generation. With few exceptions, the majority of women (those who are young, elderly, in working-class occupations, and with average levels of education) are highly under-represented despite considerable variation across countries in electoral systems, quotas for female representation, and levels of socio-economic development. These findings raise interesting questions and offer new avenues for future research on the descriptive representation and substantive representation of women in politics.

Books Written:

(2018) The Right Women Republican Party Activists, Candidates, and Legislators, Praeger

with Shauna Shames. Democrats now have three times as many women in office as the GOP. What are the barriers to Republican women's advancement, both within the party and beyond?

Book Chapters:

(2021) Women in Parliament: From Presence to Impact Critical Actors in the Policy Making Process, University of Toronto Press

Book chapter arguing that feminist policy adoption not only requires the presence of feminist lawmakers in the policy-making process but also must equip them with institutional and political capital to bring to bear on the policy-making process.

(2021) International Law and Human Rights, University of Toronto Press

Book chapter in Political Science an Intersectional Introduction, ed. Amy Atchison

(2020) Political Ambitions, Structural Obstacles, and the Fate of Republican Woman, Temple University Press

Book chapter discusses barriers to political office for Republican women and ways to overcome them.

(2018) “The Feminization of the Grand Old Party?”, Praeger

Discusses the attempts of the GOP to attract female voters.

Book Reviews:

(2019) Book review: Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation, Party Politics

Book review: Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation

(2018) Gender, Intersections, and Institutions. Intersectional Groups Building Alliances and Gaining Voice in Germany, German Politics

"Gender, Intersections, and Institutions. Intersectional Groups Building Alliances and Gaining Voice in Germany." German Politics, 27(2), pp. 290–291

(2017) Review of Out of the Running: Why Millennials Reject Political Careers and Why It Matters, Taylor & Francis

Book Review of Out of the Running: Why Millennials Reject Political Careers and Why It Matters


(2021) Effective, Decisive, and Inclusive: Women’s Leadership in COVID-19 Response and Recovery, UN Women

Authors/editor(s): Jennifer M. Piscopo and Malliga Och This working paper is part of UN Women’s research efforts to highlight the importance of women’s leadership and participation in decision-making during the pandemic and beyond. The working paper tackles the question of how women leaders at the national and subnational levels of government managed COVID-19 response and recovery during the pandemic’s first 15 months, from January 2020 through March 2021. The paper finds that women leaders placed premiums on effective leadership, rapid response, and socially inclusive policies as they understood that the effects of the pandemic would reach far beyond public health, affecting every aspect of society and disproportionately harming women and girls. The publication also maps out lessons learned and recommendations on how to ensure women participate in and influence decision-making during the pandemic response and recovery.

(2019) Gender Matters. Fünf Provokante Thesen., Liberal

Discussion why women in politics matter for the magazine of the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung.

(2019) The Rise of Women, Akzente

Review of women’s representation in executive office for the magazine of the German GIZ.

(2018) DENVER For CEDAW. A Report on the Status of the Cities for CEDAW Campaign to Inform the Adoption of a CEDAW Ordinance in Denver, UNA Denver

The United States is one of seven countries and the only advanced industrialized country in the world that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Being frustrated with the slow (or non-existent) pace of Senate ratification since 1981, the Cities for CEDAW campaign decided that American women can no longer wait for the U.S. Senate to act. Cities for CEDAW is a national campaign which encourages American municipalities to adopt a CEDAW ordinance to enshrine the international gender norms of substantive gender equity and nondiscrimination into municipal codes. San Francisco was the first city to adopt a CEDAW ordinance in 1995 and today, seven cities have adopted CEDAW ordinances while 24 cities have CEDAW resolutions, including Boulder, Lafayette, and Louisville, in Colorado.

(2016) Where Women Win, Hunt Alternatives

After Political Parity released its groundbreaking “Twin States” research in 2013, revealing the phenomenon that states with one woman in a top office are more likely to elect other high-level women, we wondered if this was true at the congressional level as well.

(2015) Clearing the Primary Hurdles. Republican Women and the GOP Gender Gap, Hunt Alternatives

We worked with some of the nation’s top political consultants, pollsters, and researchers to understand why Democratic women are elected to Congress at far greater rates than their Republican counterparts.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2020) KVPI Pocatello

Guest commentator on women and politics during 2020 primaries

(2020) Voice of America

Current Time America on NASDQ introduction of soft quota for women and minorities on corporate boards

(2017) Pocatello Community Media

“Alternative Gift Market”, Main Street News & Views,

Radio Appearances:

(2020) KISU Public Radio

“Know your Media” Show co-host, 2018-2020 This program is dedicated to critically examining the media and how to be responsible consumers of information and conscientious citizens. Each week, we will invite guests on to the show to discuss contemporary issues and how to navigate the complex webs of information and entertainment in which we are immersed.

Newspaper Quotes:

(2020) China Global Television Network

The 'awakening' of U.S. female voters and donors to political life

(2020) The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Republican women say they are not an ‘endangered species’

(2019) USA Today

Domestic violence survivors elected to Congress get support, national voice

(2019) The Philadelphia Inquirer

In the women’s movement of 2019, where do Republicans fit in?

(2019) USA Today

'Year of the Woman'? Not for Republican women in the House, where their ranks have plunged to a 25-year low

(2018) Public Radio International

In the #MeToo era, young conservative women look for their spot

(2018) VICE News


Blog Posts:

(2019) The Conversation

Och, M. and Shauna Shames. 2019. “Only 1 out of 36 Newly Elected Female Representatives in Congress Is Republican – Here’s Why It Matters.”

(2017) The Conversation

Macron and Trudeau shouldn’t be so proud of appointing women to their Cabinets.

(2017) The Conversation

(with Jennifer Piscopo) Marine Le Pen didn’t win over women. Can anyone on the far right?

(2017) Huffington Post

(with Shauna Shames) Marching Beyond Red vs. Blue.

(2017) Duck of Minerva

(with Jennifer Piscopo) From the Stove to the Frontlines? Gender and Populism in Latin American and Western Europe. 2017/01/wptpn-from-the-stove-to-the-frontlines-gender-and-populism-in-latin-american-and-western-europe.html

(2015) Political Parity Blog

Do high chairs belong in higher office?

(2015) Political Parity Blog

A growing political force?


(2021) UN Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Side Event: Women's Political Representation Moderator: Dr. Pedro A. G. dos Santos, Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota Opening Remarks by Former Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi Panelists: Dr. Farida Jalalzai, Associate Dean for Global Initiatives and Engagement, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Professor of Political Science Topic: Heads of State and Government Dr. Tiffany Barnes, Associate Professor of Political Science; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Political Science; and Internship Director, Political Science at the University of Kentucky Topic: Cabinets Dr. Ameena Zia, Founder, Blue Ridge Consulting Topic: Political Parties Dr. Malliga Och, Assistant Professor of Global Studies, Idaho State University Topic: Women in Legislature CSW 2021 info:

(2020) Gender & Politics, Speaker Series, Occidental College

Invited speaker for Are Women Leaders Better in a Pandemic? Separating Fact from Fiction

(2014) Vote, Run Lead National Training

Trainer for panel: “Real Talk. Get and Use the Facts.”

(2014) Raising Ms. President Google Hangout

“Post Midterm Election Analysis.” Raising Ms. President Google Hangout