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Breaking Male Dominance in Old Democracies$
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Drude Dahlerup and Monique Leyenaar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199653898

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653898.001.0001

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Trajectories and Processes of Change in Women’s Representation

Trajectories and Processes of Change in Women’s Representation

(p.238) 11 Trajectories and Processes of Change in Women’s Representation
Breaking Male Dominance in Old Democracies

Drude Dahlerup

Oxford University Press

Recent research has pointed to the significance of studying trajectories of change in women’s representation. While Hughes and Paxton search for ‘forces of change versus forces of resistance’ at the macro-level, this chapter primarily looks at the meso-level, which allows for studies of ‘critical actors’ as well as ‘critical acts’. Thus, based on the eight country/state studies, the chapter reviews theories about the contagion effect, sequences of empowerment and the long-term effect of gender quotas. Based on the rich material about women’s historical representation in social democratic/labour parties in old democracies, the very different trajectories of these parties are analysed. With few exceptions, these parties today have a representation of women in their parliamentary groups above the national average. However, this result did not come about without a fierce struggle of women’s groups within the parties. Recent stagnations and even smaller drops in women’s representation in parliaments are discussed as a challenge to the time-lag theory, according to which women’s representation will increase stepwise until gender balance is achieved.

Keywords:   women’s representation, trajectories, social democrats/labour, time-lag theory

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