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Transforming politics: how women activists can and should participate in electoral politics Dr Rosie Campbell email@example.com Twitter: @Rosiecampb
Do women participate less than men? Partisan politics Civic engagement Cause oriented activities Voluntary work Education, child and health related groups
Engagement with politics Political interest Political knowledge Women generally found to be less knowledgeable But it depends how knowledge is measured (Guessing/risk taking, useful knowledge, gendered knowledge) • Women routinely found to be less interested in formal politics • But it depends how you ask Political talk • Women less interested in political talk (Verba et al 1997) • Women often talk with women and men with men (Huckfeldt and Sprague 1995) • Women’s knowledge is often under-estimated (Mendez and Osborn 2010) • Women sometimes exclude themselves fearing that they will not be persuasive (Miller et al 1999)
Average general interest in politics by sex and age group Average interest in domestic politics, by age group and sex
Does it matter? • Justice alone • Descriptive and substantive representation of women The welfare state, domestic violence, childcare, equal pay • Elite/mass connection in attitudes (Lovenduski and Norris 2003 & Campbell, Childs and Lovenduski 2010)
Factors scores for attitudes to the descriptive representation of women by sex and birth cohort, 2001 & 2005 BES Factors scores for hostility to traditional gender roles by sex and birth cohort, 2001 & 2005 BES
Hostility to traditional gender roles sex and birth cohort, 2001 & 2005 BRS Attitudes to equality guarantees by birth cohort and sex, 2001 & 2005 BRS
Role models? • "the more that politicians are made visible by national news coverage, the more likely adolescent girls are to indicate an intention to be politically active" 233 (Campbell and Wolbrecht 2006). • “where there are more female members of parliament (MPs), adolescent girls are more likely to discuss politics with friends and to intend to participate in politics as adults, and adult women are more likely to discuss and participate in politics.” (Wolbrecht and Campbell 2007) • Randomized natural experiment in India- young women’s educational attainment and career aspirations were raised in districts with a woman representative(Beamanet al. 2012) • In US gender gap in political knowledge shrinks to zero when share of women in the state legislature exceeds 20% (Wolak and McDevitt 2011) • Wives and mothers sit at the centre of households: their partisanship influences the partisanship of everyone else, and the others affect them.(Zuckerman, Dasovic and Fitzgerald 2007)
What can be done? Politics is a minority past-time for all sectors of society and we should remember that the differences between men and women are small and diminishing so we must avoid making essentialist claims (gender overlap). But there are some differences (gender gap). • Which came first the woman politician or the woman activist? (A virtuous circle). There is evidence of role model effects so we must use the women we have in politics and public life to mentor and recruit other women. • Maintain and create majority women spaces. • Women are significantly less likely than men to receive political encouragement to run for office (Fox and Lawless, 2004: 275) and they are less likely to think they are qualified. So we must ask them! • Focus (although not exclusively) on the issues and topics that particularly motivate women (education, healthcare, children, pensions, caring for the elderly). • More focus on consensus rather than focusing exclusively on conflict • Build confidence in knowledge and efficacy