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The Trouble with Institutions: How Women's Policy Machineries Can Undermine Women's Mass Participation

  • Erin Hern (a1)
Abstract

It is no secret that men and women continue to have unequal access in democratic systems. In nearly every country for which data exist, women participate less in politics and hold fewer government positions than men (Beauregard 2014). In recent years, analysis of this ongoing problem has taken an institutional turn: feminist institutionalism examines how the formal and informal “rules of the game” create persistent bias against women in office and the advancement of feminist policy agendas (e.g., Krook and Mackay 2011). Such analysis is important and enlightening, but it illuminates only part of the story. An ongoing problem in most democracies is women's lower level of participation: women are less interested in politics, less likely to be active in campaigning, and less likely to contact officials. While women often vote at the same rate as men, their lower rates of political engagement and higher-intensity forms of participation remains to be explained (Coffe and Bolzendahl 2011; Verba, Burns, and Schlozman 1997).

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