Women's Participation in Politics and Civic Engagement

Women's Participation in Politics and Civic Engagement

This article discusses the extent of women's participation in electoral politics and other civic activities, compared to men. It also highlights various group memberships and political activities that women and men engage in.

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1. Transforming politics: how women activists can and should participate in electoral politics Dr Rosie Campbell r.campbell@bbk.ac.uk Twitter: @Rosiecampb

2. Do women participate less than men? Partisan politics Civic engagement Cause oriented activities Voluntary work Education, child and health related groups MPs Councilors Members Supporters Voters

3. Group membership Sex Percentage Children's education/ schools Men 12.1 Women 21.6*** Youth/children's activities (outside school) Men 12.5 Women 14** Education for adults Men 7 Women 11.6*** Sports/exercise (taking part, coaching or going to watch) Men 35.8 Women 27.8*** Religion Men 13.6 Women 19.4*** The Elderly Men 5 Women 9*** Health, Disability and Social welfare Men 8.8 Women 15.1*** Safety, First Aid Men 5.6 Women 5.5 The Environment, Animals Men 10.3 Women 10.6 Justice and Human Rights Men 3.5 Women 3 Local community or neighbourhood groups Men 10.4 Women 11.6* Citizens Groups Men 3.9 Women 4.9** Hobbies / Recreation / Arts/ Social clubs Men 24.5 Women 21.6** Trade Union Activity Men 6.7 Women 4.6*** Citizenship survey 2007 Type of political activity Sex Percentage Contacted a Member of Parliament Men 6.8 Women 6.2 Signed a petition Men 22.9 Women 24.4* Attended a public meeting or rally Men 7.3 Women 6.3* Attended a public demonstration or protest Men 2 Women 1.7

4. Type of unpaid help given to groups Sex Percentage Raising or handling money/taking part in sponsored events Men 20.3 Women 24.6*** Leading the group/ member of a committee Men 12.3 Women 10.3** Organising or helping to run an activity or event Men 19.5 Women 20.3 Visiting people Men 6.5 Women 9.8*** Befriending /mentoring people Men 6.2 Women 7.2* Giving advice/information/counselling Men 9.1 Women 7.3*** Secretarial, admin or clerical work Men 6.6 Women 7.7* Providing transport/driving Men 10.1 Women 7.5*** Representing Men 6.5*** Women 5* Campaigning Men 3.8 Women 3.8 Other practical help (e.g. helping out at school, shopping) Men 10.3 Women 16.8***

5. Engagement with politics Political interest Women routinely found to be less interested in formal politics But it depends how you ask Political talk Women less interested in political talk (Verba et al 1997) Women often talk with women and men with men (Huckfeldt and Sprague 1995) Womens knowledge is often under- estimated (Mendez and Osborn 2010) Women sometimes exclude themselves fearing that they will not be persuasive (Miller et al 1999) Political knowledge Women generally found to be less knowledgeable But it depends how knowledge is measured (Guessing/risk taking, useful knowledge, gendered knowledge)

6. Average general interest in politics by sex and age group Average interest in domestic politics, by age group and sex

7. Does it matter? Justice alone Descriptive and substantive representation of women The welfare state, domestic violence, childcare, equal pay Elite/mass connection in attitudes ( Lovenduski and Norris 2003 & Campbell, Childs and Lovenduski 2010 )

8. Factors scores for hostility to traditional gender roles by sex and birth cohort, 2001 & 2005 BES Factors scores for attitudes to the descriptive representation of women by sex and birth cohort, 2001 & 2005 BES

9. Hostility to traditional gender roles sex and birth cohort, 2001 & 2005 BRS Attitudes to equality guarantees by birth cohort and sex, 2001 & 2005 BRS

10. Role models? "the more that politicians are made visible by national news coverage, the more likely adolescent girls are to indicate an intention to be politically active" 233 ( Campbell and Wolbrecht 2006 ). where there are more female members of parliament (MPs), adolescent girls are more likely to discuss politics with friends and to intend to participate in politics as adults, and adult women are more likely to discuss and participate in politics. ( Wolbrecht and Campbell 2007 ) Randomized natural experiment in India- young womens educational attainment and career aspirations were raised in districts with a woman representative( Beaman et al. 2012 ) In US gender gap in political knowledge shrinks to zero when share of women in the state legislature exceeds 20% ( Wolak and McDevitt 2011 ) Wives and mothers sit at the centre of households: their partisanship influences the partisanship of everyone else, and the others affect them.( Zuckerman, Dasovic and Fitzgerald 2007 )

11. What can be done? Politics is a minority past-time for all sectors of society and we should remember that the differences between men and women are small and diminishing so we must avoid making essentialist claims (gender overlap). But there are some differences (gender gap). Which came first the woman politician or the woman activist? (A virtuous circle). There is evidence of role model effects so we must use the women we have in politics and public life to mentor and recruit other women. Maintain and create majority women spaces. Women are significantly less likely than men to receive political encouragement to run for office (Fox and Lawless, 2004: 275) and they are less likely to think they are qualified. So we must ask them! Focus (although not exclusively) on the issues and topics that particularly motivate women (education, healthcare, children, pensions, caring for the elderly). More focus on consensus rather than focusing exclusively on conflict Build confidence in knowledge and efficacy


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