Why are women under-represented in the British House of Commons and the Sejm of the Republic of Poland

Opyd, Dorota
Why are women under-represented in the British House of Commons and the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This study explores the reasons for gender inequality in the lower chambers of the British and Polish Parliaments. The barriers to women’s political advance are investigated through elite interviews with women MPs with the aim of identifying and exploring the socio-cultural, socio-economic and structural factors which account for gender imbalance in national parliaments. The research examines these factors from the perspectives of those most involved: the women MPs. Through qualitative, semi-structured interviews, I examine the similarities and differences in the views of women politicians from countries with different electoral systems, contrasting models of equality guarantees and different historical and democratic cultures. The findings from the study illustrate the impact of cultural stereotypes on women who seek to join the political arena, the influence that media bias in the representation of women’s political activity has on female politicians and the extent of the restrictions associated with a male dominated environment. This research also addresses structural difficulties such as electoral systems and different types of equality provisions introduced in each country to help women parliamentary candidates. In addition, this study provides some indication of the way forward for the achievement of gender parity. The results provide clear support for the argument that gender balance cannot be achieved without challenging stereotypes and, most of all, without introducing measures to educate young girls on political careers. Within the same context, the biases of the media in promoting gender stereotypes and the untouchable power of social media have been identified. The findings also suggest a need to re-think the use of gender quotas, supporting these as a short-term solution but resisting the involvement of governments in gender equality issues, indicating that this should be dealt with by the political parties. The thesis also offers insights into the importance of behavioural patterns that men and women in power have learned though their socialisation, an issue largely missed in the existing literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2015-08-03 (completed)
Subjects: ?? JA ??
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Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 11:35
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:39
DOI: 10.17638/02036183
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2036183