This concluding chapter confronts the time-lag theory with the recent examples of stagnation and falls in women’s political representation. It points to the persistence of traditional norms and structures, to the declining lobby-power of women’s organizations and to a backlash following the recent expansion of right-wing forces. On the other hand there seems to be a status of conditional irreversibility in old democracies, meaning that it is impossible to go back to male monopoly or even to the stage of women as a small minority (10–25%) for those old democracies which passed the 25 per cent threshold several decades ago. In the chapter, a model identifying gender balance is developed in order to discuss the question whether we are heading for gender balance in the near future. A final note concerns the theory of shrinking institutions, stating that women can only enter these when power has moved somewhere else, a notion that is discussed and rejected by the authors.
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