Rowman and Littlefield International

Representing Women?

Female Legislators in West European Parliaments

By Mercedes Mateo Diaz

This work discusses questions on political participation, representation and legitimacy in the European Union national parliaments.

Paperback ISBN: 9780954796648 Release date: Apr 2005
£24.00 €33.00 $40.00

Pages: 292

ECPR Press

This work discusses questions on political participation, representation and legitimacy in the European Union national parliaments. Three major empirical questions structure the book: What affects women's presence in parliaments?, Does the number of women in parliament have an effect? And are women in parliament representing women? Empirical evidences show that institutional reforms need a 'minimal environment' in terms of socio-economic development so as to prove effective. As opposed to the critical mass theory, claiming that a few representatives cannot have an impact on the political outcomes, here the empirical evidences suggest that smaller groups can also influence the different components of the legislative process. The last part turns to the fundamental question of whether a parliament that is descriptively representative, i.e. in which the parliamentarians share certain characteristics with the voters, also is a substantively descriptive parliament, i.e. in which the parliamentarians mirror the voters' opinions.

contents

List of figures and tablesxi

Abbreviationsxv

GENERAL INTRODUCTION1

Outline of the book2

Comparative strategies6

A comment on the data and methods8

PART I: WHAT AFFECTS THE PRESENCE OF WOMEN IN

PARLIAMENT?11

Introduction: Mechanisms for obtaining proportional representation

in parliaments11

Descriptive and/or substantive representation?12

How should the problem of under-representation of women be solved?18

Classifying the spectrum of institutional reforms23

Chapter one: The temporal dimension of women’s political participation32

A short look at the history of women’s movements33

Women’s rights on the agenda35

Self-evident political disparities: an analysis over time38

Chapter two: Macro-conditions affecting the presence of women in

parliaments50

The analysis building-blocks: variables and concepts55

Structural conditions and women’s political empowerment63

What comes first: the chicken or the egg?69

Chapter three: Enhancing the representation of women as a matter

of specific institutional reforms86

The Belgian law on quotas concerning the sex-composition of candidate lists87

New legislation in Belgium and other EU member states94

PART II: DOES THE NUMBER OF WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT

HAVE AN EFFECT?109

Introduction: From rights to utility; arguments for women’s presence

in parliaments109

Equality as a question of rights113

Equality as a question of utility116

A critical mass?119

Empirical research on utility arguments122

The strategy of analysis124

Chapter four: Differences between female and male MPs: specialisation, policy areas and role orientations128

Is there a gender structure in areas of specialisation?128

Do women and men stand for different issues?134

Who and what do women and men represent?137

Conclusion137

Chapter five: The perceived impact of a more gender-balanced

parliament140

Do more gender-balanced parliaments change institutions?140

Do more gender-balanced parliaments change gender-equality policy?147

Do more gender-balanced parliaments change the democratic system?154

Conclusion156

Chapter six: Insight into the gender gap: a critical mass effect?158

The gender gap159

Data, method and the attitudes under examination160

Classification of the gender gap163

Is a critical mass needed for women legislators to have an impact?172

Acculturation and spillover effects175

Conclusion178

PART III: ARE WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT REPRESENTING WOMEN?183

Representative governments and accountability183

Part III’s four hypotheses187

Chapter seven: Is there a gender representation? Issue congruence

among voters and representatives in EU Member States189

Issue congruence between national parliaments and their electorates189

Issue congruence between parties and voters199

Conclusion201

Chapter eight: Is there a gender representation? Issue congruence

among voters and representatives in Sweden 1968-98203

Issue congruence between the Riksdag and the electorate204

Issue congruence between parties and voters209

Conclusion216

CONCLUSION221

What affects the presence of women in parliament?222

Does the number of women in parliament have an effect?225

Are women in parliament representing women?231

References and bibliography237

Index259

Mercedes Mateo Diaz is FNRS postdoctoral fellow at the University of Louvain (UCL-Belgium). She has been a postdoctoral Marie Curie Fellow at the Robert Schumann Center (European University Institute), where she previously held a Jean Monnet Fellowship. She was research fellow at the Inter-University Centre for Electoral and for Political Opinion Research (Belgium), and visiting researcher at the University of Göteborg granted by the TMR network Representation in Europe. She has made a number of significant contributions to edited works and to peer-reviewed journals such as Verfassungsexperiment - Europa auf dem Weg zu einer postnationalen Demokratie, edited by Liebert, U et al, LIT-Verlag; Le parachutage politique, edited by Dolez, B & Hastings, M, L'Harmattan; Revue Française de Science Politique, South European Society and Politics, Res Publica, Feminist Legal Studies, Opinião Pública, and Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée. She has also co-edited a collection of essays entitled The Future of Gender Equality in the European Union (with Susan Millns, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

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