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A number of CWI supporters took part in a seminar hosted by Political Quarterly journal recently and the fruits of that discussion have just been published. The latest issue contains a number of challenging articles on feminism and British politics drawing on the latest research.
‘Who opposes increases in women’s political representation?’ is the question asked by Professor Joni Lovenduski. She identifies at least eight types of opponents.The uninterested who think it does not matter; the complacent, who, if they think about it at all, believe women’s interests are well represented; the traditionalists who believe that politics is about the representation of class interests hence other inequalities are a diversion; the diversity advocates who argue that gender is only one of many identities; their mirror image, the anti-essentialists who think that claims for more women ignore the great differences among women; the optimistic who think it is just a matter of waiting and the dinosaurs who think politics is best left to men. And each of these in different ways contributes to the eighth type, the mistaken who misread or misconstrue data about women in politics. For more download Joni’s article – its available free until the end of December 2012.
Looking for solutions Ruth Fox explores whether legal guarantees might now be the best route to secure equality of representation following the repeated failure of the political parties to deliver any significant improvement in numbers through their own preferred, voluntary mechanisms. The article also explores how the arguments about ‘merit’ need to be tackled head on. You can also download this article for free until the end of the year.