Women’s representation in politics

Wolchik, S and Chiva, MC ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6588-0729 2021, 'Women’s representation in politics' , in: The Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia , Routledge Handbooks of Gender and Sexuality , Routledge, pp. 441-449.

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This chapter argues that in order to understand the historical trajectory of women’s representation in politics in Central-Eastern Europe since the collapse of state socialism, it is important to focus on the interaction of two main factors: the persistence of significant structural barriers over this period and the sustained efforts made by women’s advocates. Women had relatively high representation in communist legislatures, with scholars debating whether these women were merely tokens or could advance women’s interests. In the postcommunist period, there has been a gradual, albeit uneven, rise in women’s representation, including some notable women prime ministers and presidents in the 2010s and as European Union commissioners. Scholars point to some obstacles that are legacies of the communist system, such as the relegation of women in politics to “women’s issues,” women’s double burden, and stereotypes that women are unfit for leadership. Others point to obstacles that relate to the postcommunist competition for power, such as negative media representation, party-based candidate recruitment systems, and the function of the electoral systems. But, as considered in the literature on women’s substantive representation in the region, some women in politics have carved out authority on some social issues, some legislatures and parties have adopted gender quotas (even if they are only partially implemented in practice), and some gender equality advocates have promoted policies to increase the visibility of women and strengthen institutional structures focused on gender equality. This study shows that both structure and agency matter for women’s representation, and that the balance between agency and structure shifts over time and across countries.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Fábián, K, Johnson, JE and Lazda, M
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: Routledge
Series Name: Routledge Handbooks of Gender and Sexuality
ISBN: 9781138347755 (hardback); 9781138347762 (ebook)
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Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2021 14:58
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 14:47
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/62273

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