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Women and political representation. From Rhetoric to Practice: Investigating the gaps between design and implementation in gender equality policies Giovanna Declich, ASDO June 3rd , 2007.

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women and political representation

Women and political representation

From Rhetoric to Practice: Investigating the gaps between design and implementation in gender equality policies

Giovanna Declich, ASDO

June 3rd, 2007

slide2
The stake (1): Effectiveness and relevance of policies addressing the gender gap in the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All
  • WG 3/a “will investigate the ways the gap between design and implementation are created and aim at better understanding what policy mechanisms as well as theoretical assumptions should be integrated in the process in order to reduce the (gender) gap”
  • We know all too well that the issue of Equal Opportunities is multifaceted. It is thus necessary to face it by the adoption of diversified points of view and tools, both of a scientific and a political nature.

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

slide3
The stake (2): Effectiveness and relevance of policies addressing the gender gap in the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All
  • The Equal Opportunities concept (even though we are now specifically addressing gender) is a complex one, referring to a manifold reality (multiple identities, lack of common points of reference and shared goals)
  • That’s why it is difficult to assess women’s real situation and advancement (the media, above all, tend to oscillate between moments of unrestrained optimism and the darkest pessimism)
  • Politics play in any case a key role. That’s the reason behind ASDO’s research and project on women in politics.

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

two risks to be avoided in research as in policy design
Two risks to be avoided, in research as in policy design

Confronting “the obvious that doesn’t change” (to cite a slogan that titled a beautiful book on women in politics, by Italian psycho-analyst Francesca Molfino), two specular risks have to be avoided:

  • Thinking we know it all
  • Starting from scratch each time, wasting decades of scientific literature and knowledge produced by women’s movements’ concrete action all over the world.

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

asdo s project on women in politics esf equal budget line
ASDO’s project on women in politics(ESF/Equal budget line)
  • Duration: 2 years and a half (now in second year)
  • Research: 1st year and throughout the project. Research tools
    • Statistical data collection
    • Review of previous studies
    • Observation on 2006 Italian political elections
    • Survey on political women experience and attitudes
    • Observation of experimental micro-projects
  • Experimentation: 6 micro-projects to tackle emerging problems
  • Public communication and networking activities (newsletter, seminars, public meetings etc.).

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 1
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

The notion of “diffused vertical segregation”

Vertical segregation is a global phenomenon

It affects every area of political, professional and social life

It affects every level of power

Research outputs - 1

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

under representation is a global problem some examples lower single houses
Under-representation is a global problem: some examples(Lower/single houses)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

more examples the paradox of g8 countries lower single houses
More examples: the paradox of G8 countries(Lower/single houses)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

more examples european champions and poor performers lower single houses
More examples: European champions and poor performers...(Lower/single houses)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

but all countries are performing poorly at the local level women mayors
But all countries are performing poorly at the local level(Women mayors)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

segregation affects every area of life examples
Segregation affects every area of life: examples

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

segregation affects every level of power italy
Segregation affects every level of power (ITALY)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 2
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

A taxonomy of factors affecting women’s success in politics (all crucial)

Diffused vertical segregation

Discordance in the exercise of political power

Lack of mobilization

Material constraints

Normative and behavioral inertia

Biographical tangles

Ambiguity of public opinion

Irresolution and lack of empowerment

Research outputs - 2

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 3
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Questions we asked ourselves at this point:

Why women are so few even in countries where cultural attitudes favor gender equality?

Why do they face so many obstacles, leading to their virtual exclusion?

A lack of socialization of gender in the public sphere?

How do women react to this “social void?”

Research outputs - 3

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 4
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Differences among women

Two different sources (268 local-level political and trade union women activists; 94 national-level political and trade union women representatives)

The weight of objective factors

Women’s reactions and subjective attitudes

The success-failure variable

Research outputs - 4

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

the weight of obstacle factors
The weight of obstacle factors

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 5
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Different types of reactions:

Perceiving diversity

Sociopoietic effort

Personal life choices

Preferred solutions

Research outputs - 5

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 6
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Perceiving diversity:

Feeling extraneous

Critical approach

Constructive approach

Research outputs - 6

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 7
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Sociopoietic effort:

Belief in the added value of women in politics

Public negotiation

Private negotiation

Research outputs - 7

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 8
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Personal life choices:

Political dynamism

Care

Other dimensions in life

Research outputs – 8

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 9
Statistical data collection

Review of previous studies

Observation of 2006 Italian elections

Survey on political women’s experience and attitudes

Observation of experimental micro-projects

Preferred solutions:

Institutional approach

Collective approach

Individual approach

Research outputs - 9

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

research outputs 10
Research outputs - 10
  • Different attitudes produce different degrees of resistance by the political male-dominated environment. Most controversial attitudes have turned out being:
    • Feeling extraneous
    • Critical approach
    • Belief in women’s added value in politics
    • Public negotiation
    • Private negotiation
  • Other attitudes produce resistance when connected with one another (e.g. political dynamism and care)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

some practical implications of research outputs
Some practical implications of research outputs
  • Potential for change implied by women’s presence in political institutions is diversified: impact does not automatically rise with increased numbers
  • However, most women’s actionshave the potential to challenge male-dominated institutions, albeit to different degrees
  • It is important to fight exclusionary factors, through legislative and policy interventions, but it is equally important doing so while fostering women’s attitudes conducive to change

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

slide24

Feeling extraneous

Discordance

Critical approach

Lack of mobilization

Belief in women’s added value

Material Constraints

Public negotiation

Normative and behavioral inertia

Private negotiation

Biographical tangles

Political dynamism

Ambiguity of publicopinion

Care

Irresolution

Constructive approach

Diffused vertical segregation

Objective factors

Subjective attitudes

to conclude
To conclude…
  • Empowerment is crucial to strengthen attitudes more directly challenging the status quo and thus socializing gender difference in the political arena, both for women already in politics, and for those that are not and young girls, who could contribute a lot to change by bringing in their different approaches and experiences.
  • The project experimental activities move in this direction: linking different power levels, practices and generations to promote change.
  • The results of the experimentation and of the whole project will conduct to the final drafting of guidelines for fostering women political participation.

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

experimental activities underway
Experimental activities underway

The 6 micro-projects deal with (in brackets the promoters)

  • Women’s empowerment for political leadership in the Latium regional administration (ALEF, women association)
  • Negotiation for women’s leadership in largest chemical and textile Italian trade unions (FILTEA, national trade union)
  • Mentoring program for women in local branches of an Italian national-level party (MARGOWEB, local club of a political party)
  • Helping elected women in municipal administrations (Rome province) to link with their constituencies and effectively address women’s priorities, enhancing participation (ASPETTARE STANCA, women association)
  • Migrant women and reconciliation issues for enlarging participation to grassroots political movements and associations in Rome (DS VIII MUNICIPIO, local federation of a political party)
  • Promoting women in middle-level positions in a national-level Italian trade union (CISL, regional federation of a trade union)

Women and political representation - ASDO, June 2007

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