Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

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

  • Erin Hern (a1)

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).

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Lisa Baldez . 2003. “Women's Movements and Democratic Transition in Chile, Brazil, East Germany, and Poland.” Comparative Politics 35 (3): 252–72.

Katherine Beauregard . 2014. “Gender, Political Participation, and Electoral Systems: A Cross-National Analysis.” European Journal of Political Research 53 (3): 617–34.

Karen Beckwith . 2000. “Beyond Compare? Women's Movements in Comparative Perspective.” European Journal of Political Research 37 (4): 431–68.

Kathleen Bratton . 2005Critical Mass Theory Revisited: The Behavior and Success of Token Women in State Legislatures.” Politics & Gender 1 (1): 97125.

Sarah K. Bruch , Myra Marx Ferree , and Joe Soss . 2010. “From Policy to Polity: Democracy, Paternalism, and the Incorporation of Disadvantaged Citizens.” American Sociological Review 75 (2): 205–26.

Andrea Louise Campbell . 2012. “Policy Makes Mass Politics.” Annual Review of Political Science 15: 333–51.

Louise Chappell . 2002. “The Femocrat Strategy: Expanding the Repertoire of Feminist Activists.” Parliamentary Affairs 55 (1): 8598.

George Chauncey . 1981. “The Locus of Reproduction: Women's Labour on the Zambian Copperbelt, 1927–1953.” Journal of Southern African Studies 7 (2):135–64.

Hilde Coffe , and Catherine Bolzendahl . 2011. “Gender Gaps in Political Participation across Sub-Saharan African Nations.” Social Indicators Research 102 (2): 245–64.

Frederick Cooper . 1996. Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Drude Dahlerup . 1988. “From a Small to a Large Minority: Women Scandinavian Politics.” Scandinavian Political Studies 11 (4): 275–98.

Elisabeth Friedman . 2000. “State-Based Advocacy for Gender Equality in the Developing World: Assessing the Venezuelan National Women's Agency.” Women and Politics 21 (2): 4780.

Elisabeth Gidengil , Matthew Hennigar , Andre Blais , and Neil Nevitte . 2005. “Explaining the Gender Gap in Support for the New Right.” Comparative Political Studies 38 (10): 1171–95.

Karen Transberg Hansen . 1984. “Negotiating Sex and Gender in Urban Zambia.” Journal of Southern African Studies 10 (2): 219–38.

Ronald Inglehart , and Pippa Norris . 2003. Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Miki Caul Kittilson , and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer . 2012. The Gendered Effects of Electoral Institutions: Political Engagement and Participation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mona Lena Krook , and Fiona Mackay , eds. 2011. Gender, Politics, and Institutions: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism. New York: Palgrave McMillan.

Joni Lovenduski , ed. 2005. State Feminism and Political Representation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fiona. Mackay , Meryl Kenny , and Louise Chappell . 2010. “New Institutionalism through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?International Political Science Review 31 (5): 578–88.

Lauren MacLean . 2010. “State Retrenchment and the Exercise of Citizenship in Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 44 (9):1238–66.

Henrietta Moore , and Megan Vaughn . 1994. Cutting Down Trees: Gender, Nutrition, and Agricultural Change in the Northern Province of Zambia. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Joyce Outshoorn , and Johanna Kantola , eds. 2007. Changing State Feminism. New York: Palgrave McMillan.

Bizeck Phiri . 2008. “Gender and Politics: The Zambia National Women's Lobby Group in the 2001 Tripartite Elections.” In One Zambia, Many Histories: Towards a History of Post-Colonial Zambia, ed. Jan-Bart Gewald and Marja Hinfelaar . Leiden, Netherlands:Brill.

Diane Sainsbury . 1994. Gendering Welfare States. London: Sage Publications.

Aili Mari Tripp , and Alice Kang . 2008. “The Global Impact of Quotas on the Fast Track to Increased Female Legislative Representation.” Comparative Political Studies 41 (3):338–61.

Jacqui True . 2003. “Mainstreaming Gender in Global Public Policy.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 5 (3): 368–96.

Sidney Verba , Nancy Burns , and Kay Schlozman . 1997. “Knowing and Caring about Politics: Gender and Political Engagement. Journal of Politics 59 (4): 1051–72.

Jill Vickers . 2013. “Is Federalism Gendered? Incorporating Gender into Studies of Federalism.” Publius 43 (1):123.

Georgina Waylen . 2007. Engendering Transitions: Women's Mobilization, Institutions, and Gender Outcomes. New York: Oxford University Press.

Georgina Waylen . 2009. “What Can Historical Institutionalism Offer Feminist Institutionalists?Politics & Gender 5 (2): 245–53.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 15
Total number of PDF views: 51 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 252 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 14th September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.