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Electing Women to National Legislatures

  • Diana Z. O’Brien
  • Jennifer M. Piscopo
Chapter
Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)

Abstract

This chapter examines women’s numeric representation in national legislatures as it relates to women’s political empowerment. Women’s presence in parliament symbolizes the political empowerment of female citizens, broadly defined, as higher levels of representation signal the openness, inclusivity, and equity of the political system. Yet women’s presence in legislatures may not translate into high levels of individual empowerment for female lawmakers. Institutional, organizational, and structural barriers—such as masculine cultures and male-dominated political parties—limit women’s abilities to exercise their talents and qualifications. Future research should examine how this measure of political empowerment varies across different conceptualizations of “women.” Scholars should examine not just women as a group but women as individuals and as differentiated by race, ethnicity, class, and other identity-based categories.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Z. O’Brien
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Piscopo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsOccidental CollegeLos AngelesUSA

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