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Making Institutions and Context Count: How Useful Is Feminist Institutionalism in Explaining Male Dominance in Politics?

  • Melinda Adams (a1) and Michal Smrek (a2)
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While the same formal candidate selection rules are generally in place throughout a state, there is often intracountry variation in male descriptive overrepresentation. To explain this variation, scholars cannot focus exclusively on women (e.g., how do women respond to formal institutional opportunities?) or femininity (e.g., how do norms governing appropriate female behavior affect women's odds of being selected as a candidate?). Rather, scholars must attend to the ways that informal norms regarding masculinity operate across space and time within a country. Drawing on the insights of feminist institutionalism, this essay examines two intracountry sources of variation in candidate selection: the spatial urban-rural divide and temporal differences between first-time recruitment and renomination. While the formal candidate selection rules are uniform, informal institutions vary depending on where and when we look, leading to different levels of male overrepresentation.

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
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