Gender and Politics

Paxton, Pamela, Sheri Kunovich, and Melanie M. Hughes. 2007. “Gender in Politics.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol.33, pp.263-284.

 

Gender and Politics

 

  • INTRODUCTION
    • Research on the topic accelerated dramatically in the past 20 years.
    •  addressing gender inequality in political acts as diverse as voting campaigning, and leadership
    •  gender differences in political knowledge, socialization, and attitudes
    • women’s place in political theory
  • GENDER INEQUALITY IN POLITICAL OUTCOMES
    • After World War II, women’s political rights were legally sanctioned in many countries, often without significant resistance
    • In the United States, women received the vote nationally in 1920, but women’s voter turnout did not equal men’s until the 1980s
      • The reason for this is like with everything new it took time for women to get used to the idea of standing up and vote.
    • Today, women are more likely to vote than men in the United States
      • I think this is because they need to get there voice in within a male dominated profession
    • during the 2004 presidential campaign men contributed more money, but women were just as likely to volunteer
    •  since 1960, when Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first female to lead a modern country only 30 women have become the top political executive of their country
    • Women are also only a small percentage of top executives across the U.S. states.
  • EXPLAINING WOMEN’S REPRESENTATION IN FORMAL POLITICS
    • Supply-side factors increase the pool of women with the will and experience to compete against men for political office
    •  demand-side (the need to have women in office)  factors are characteristics of countries, electoral systems, or political parties that affect the likelihood that women will be pulled into office from the supply of willing candidates
  • Supply-Side Explanations
    • Supply-side (Supply-side arguments acknowledge that
    • political participation requires both personal
    • characteristics such as interest, ambition, and knowledge as well as resources acknowledge that political participation requires both personal characteristics such as interest and resources such as time
    • gender socialization effects people’s interest
    •  men are consistently found to be more interested in politics and have more political knowledge than women
    • women have fewer of the necessary resources to participate in politics.
    • United States, women use the civic skills and networks gained from their voluntary associations to make the transition to politics
  • Demand-Side Explanations
    • Political parties and party leaders also pull women into or push women out of the political process.
    • Democracy.
      • in democracies the rules of the political game should be transparent, well detailed, and consistent, helping women to see how they can work within the system to attain power
      • in the absence of true elections, women can be placed into power even when citizens do not support them
      • cross-national studies do not find that democratic countries have more women in parliament than less democratic countries
    • Electoral system
      • Electoral systems determine how the votes cast in an election get translated into seats won by parties and candidates
      •  Pluralitymajority women do better in this kind of system
      •  voters in an electoral district typically vote for only one person to represent them, and the candidate with the most votes wins.
    • Gender quotas
      • Over the past 15 years, more than 60 countries have adopted gender quotas
      • In most of the countries it has increased women participation
        • Some countries should have a 17% increase
        •  Placement mandates, such as two women required among the top five candidates, may prevent parties from burying women at the bottom of party lists
    • Political parties and party leader
      •  Parties that are further left in their political leanings tend to espouse egalitarian ideals and are more likely to promote traditionally underrepresented groups
      • United States, for example, women have been more successful achieving power in the more leftist Democratic Party than in the Republican Party
      • Women in party leadership positions, or even in mid-level positions, can further influence women’s numbers by pushing for party rules targeting certain percentages of women as candidates

 

 

 

  • Cultural Explanations
    •  Historically, beliefs that women did not have the temperament or capability to participate in politics, or that women belong in the private sphere, were codified in political thought
    • Women face prejudice as leaders because people tend to assume that leadership is a masculine trait
    •  25% of the U.S. population still says that men are better suited emotionally to politics
    • 15% of Americans agreed with the statement “women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country up to men”
    • Religion is another important source of cultural beliefs in most countries which in result leads to many people believing women should be seen or not heard.
    • Arguments about women’s inferiority to men are present across all dominant religions
    • Across 73 countries, a 1% increase in the number of female candidates results in only a 0.67% increase in female legislators; which shows that just because women are running does mean they are winning.
  • International Influences
    • Pressure from international organizations, such as the United Nations and women’s international nongovernmental organizations (WINGOs), influence women’s suffrage
    • United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • DO WOMEN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
    • United States, Democratic candidates and politicians, whether they are male or female, are more likely to espouse and vote for liberal policies that are also likely to be defined as of interest to women
    • women are more likely than men to prioritize bills related to children, family, and women and health care and social service
    • Women in governing parties have more opportunities to generate legislation but simultaneously have more opportunities to anger party leadership with defection
    •  women are more likely than men to introduce bills to reduce gender discrimination and to sponsor bills related to education,
    • Female legislators introduced bills that were focused on crime prevention or victim’s rights, whereas men were more reactive in their response, introducing bills related to stricter sentencing and longer prison terms.

 

 

 

  • Critical Mass
    •  Despite the importance of the idea of critical mass to advocates of greater female representation in politics, empirical research provides little evidence that reaching a critical mass matters.
  • Globalizing Theory and Research
    • Future research must globalize our present understanding of women’s political participation, representation, and impact
  • Expanding Data Collection
    • although many important case studies have already examined women’s political outcomes over time within a small number of countries, cross-national longitudinal research is in its infancy
  • Remembering the Alternative Forms of Women’s Agency
    • One of the most challenging but important topics for the future is to understand how women’s political power and influence is affected by their actions in both traditional and nontraditional political structures
    • women’s movements working both within and outside the state to promote women’s interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About allibaker214

Criminal Justice and Sociology double major. Currently, I am in my junior year at ODU. My favorite pass times are reading and working on my own book of poetry. I am a big Nerd! I am married, 2.14.11.
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