This article analyses the relationship between the representatives and the represented by comparing elite and mass attitudes to gender equality and women’s representation in Britain. In so doing, the authors take up arguments in the recent theoretical literature on representation that question the value of empirical research of Pitkin’s distinction between substantive and descriptive representation. They argue that if men and women have different attitudes at the mass level, which are reproduced amongst political elites, then the numerical under-representation of women may have negative implications for women’s substantive representation. The analysis is conducted on the British Election Study (BES) and the British Representation Study (BRS) series.
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