Citizenship, Representation and Gender
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2011-01-04
Polish Sociological Review 2010;172(4):367-390
The political transformations of late 1980s and early 1990s marked a ‘new political opening’ for Central and Eastern Europe. In each country of the region, a new institutional order was built in its specific historical and cultural context. However, all countries disregarded the problem of gender balance in bodies of power. As a result, the share of women in descriptive representation shrunk considerably throughout the region. Initially, all countries had a low percentage of women at power but the situation began to diverge over time. This paper presents research findings from a study of women and men parliamentarians in Poland, Latvia and Macedonia, focussing on political representation and, in particular, on barriers which obstruct women’s more active involvement in the public sphere as well as actions, such as quotas, aimed to mainstream gender equality into politics. The problem of women’s participation in the legislature as well as barriers to women’s involvement turned out to bring in an interesting differentiation into gender equality discourses in the three countries under study.
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