Feminist Institutionalism and Gender-Sensitive Parliaments: Relating Theory and Practice
Since the 1990s, feminist institutionalists have argued that women parliamentarians work within the confines of a gendered institution which impacts on their capacity to reform both parliamentary process and policy. In this chapter, I consider the linkages between the theory of feminist institutionalism and the relatively new research on gender-sensitive parliaments, which has led to a new understanding of parliaments as workplaces. Practical implications arise from these theoretical revisions, notably the need to refocus parliamentary development assistance around a ‘theory of change’ that aims to transform parliaments, as institutions, rather than relying on capacity building initiatives for women alone. ‘Feminist institutionalism and gender-sensitive parliaments’ concludes by considering opportunities for ongoing dialogue between theory and practice.