Studying political representation: A comparative-gendered approach

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20 Scopus citations


How does a comparative politics of gender improve our understanding of political representation? I map the existing feminist literature on this topic, which asks questions like why there are so few women elected to political office, whether women in politics represent women as a group, and how the presence or absence of women in politics affects voter perceptions and opinions. I then consider how scholarsboth feminist and non-feministmight generate new insights on political representation by expanding what is thought of as a case and what is meant by the term gender. I recommend increasing the scope of comparison by (1) opening up the definition of a case to include a broader range of units and events and (2) connecting the study of a single unit to patterns generated by the study of other similar units. I suggest moving away from equating women with gender by exploring (1) relations between women and men and (2) the impact of masculinities and femininities on the conduct of political life. While developed in relation to research on representation, this approach offers broader advice for capturing the diverse and gendered nature of political dynamics observed around the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalPerspectives on Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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