Flashcards in 20: Women's Political Representation Deck (22):
Which country has the highest representation of women?
what percentage of the UK parliament (House of Commons) is women?
what percentage of the US parliament is women?
why was there a sharp jump in the number of female Labour MPs in the 1990's?
Blair created women only shortlists (which the courts later challenged and then dropped) - they were called Blair's Babes by the media (UGH!)
why might it be hard to measure the level of impact representation of women have on policy outcomes?
Most women are elected to left/centre-left parties who are already pre-disposed to pass policies like increased childcare, education, elderly care, pensions which are the same sort of policies that women tend to promote.
Why might a country have higher proportion of women in government?
- cultural attitudes towards gender equality - greater tolerance of female politicians mean more get elected (Norris and Inglehart 2001)
- women's participation in the workforce (economic emancipation) is likely to correlate with political participation (and thus representation) (Iverson and Rosenbluth 2008)
- electoral systems: women are more likely to be elected under PR systems than in open-list or STV because voters are more likely to choose men if given the choice (partly because the media reports more on male candidates
- quotas: e.g. 2003 Rwandan constitution - at least 30% of parliament seats must be women e.g. women only shortlists in UK about party under Blair)
- parties: left parties are more likely to choose women candidates than Right.
Why are women disadvantaged when being elected?
- voters tend to pick male candidates
- media reports more on male candidates that it does on female candidates meaning men can campaign more easily than women.
- cultural attitude means women are seen as less powerful and less capable of being in power
- tradition - men have been in parliament, unwilling to change the status quo
what is the connection between gender equality and political representation? What does this imply?
positive correlation between percentage of women in parliament and the level of gender equality according to WEF. But what causes what? We don't know.
What does a zipped party list mean?
What does Caul conclude about the effects of female representation on a party
- parties on the left more likely to elect women than parties on the right
- parties on the left more likely to adopt quotas
- more women in party executives, more women party activists and quotas leads to more women being elected
- PR electoral system leads to more women being elected
- but at the level at which candidates are selected (I.e. Central or local) had no effect on the number of women elected
What was Tim Bail's findings on men and women in the Conservative party?
Men and women are equally likely to join the Conservative party but women are 4 times more likely to leave it
How does electoral competition impact the election of women to positions in government?
Folke and Richner 2016:
More party competition leads to a focus on candidates competence meaning that women are more likely to be elected whereas when there is little competition the party leaders are more prone to cronyism
Do female MPs have different policy preferences compared to male MPs
1. Philips, 1995: women have distinct interests in relation to child-bearing, exposure to sexual harassment and violence, inequality in labour market, raising children as a valid form of social involvement
2. Lovenduski 1995: women politicians prioritise policies on labour market equality, childcare, education, pensions, elderly care etc.
3. But these are often priorities of men and women in left parties hard to distinguish
Box-Steffensmeier et al. 2004
In the US women are approx 10% more likely to support the democrats vs republicans even after controlling for income and education
How do women in the US congress tend to behave?
1. Thomas, 1994: Women are more likely than men to want to join (and be assigned to) health and welfare committees in US congress
2. Anzia and Berry (2011): US congresswomen sponsor more bills than congressmen and women have to be better quality politicians than men to get elected to US congress
3. Caiazza (2002): positive correlation between the women elected in office and women-friendly policies (childcare, maternity leave, reproductive rights)
How has the impact of female representation in government changed overtime
The difference in policy outcomes declines as societies progress on gender equality (wängnerud, 2006)
What is the difference between descriptive representation and substantive representation
Substantive: policy's make society more equal
Descriptive: parliament/ government is a microcosm of society (gender, ethnic, sexuality, disability representation)
Arguments in favour of gender quotas
- More representative of society
- quotas leads to faster progress society moves too slowly
- need to overcome institutionalised discrimination against women e.g. Party hierarchies, electoral systems, voters discrimination etc.
- descriptive representation leads to substantive representation
- once quotas have worked they can be removed
Arguments against gender quotas in politics
1. Discriminatory against men
2. Tokenism - women not chosen for their merit but because they are women
3. Why just have quotas for women? Not ethnicity, religion, social class, disability, sexual orientation etc.
4. Quotas don't always work e.g. In Belgium women put towards the bottom of the lists and then they don't get elected
arguments in favour of gender quotas
- representative democracy - microcosm of society (descriptive representation) leads to substantive representation meaning that women's interests in society are represented (therefore reduced description, reduced violence against women, reduced misogyny etc.)
- society moves too slowly -> quotas lead to faster progress
- need to overcome institutionalised discrimination against women
- once quotas have worked they can be removed
arguments against gender quotas
- discriminatory against men (and constitution)
- tokenism - men elected "on merit", women elected by quotas (not necessarily for merit)
- shouldn't there then be quotas for ethnicity, religion, social class, disability, sexual orientation etc.
- quotas do not always work - e.g. Belgium has a national quota (parties must have more than 25% female candidates), but parties just put women at the bottom of the list and they won't get elected.
- other policies might be more effective such as encouraging women to stand as candidates, placing women in visible positions, and having more family-friendly work practices in parliaments