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Gender, political representation and symbolic capital: how some women politicians succeed

Gender, political representation and symbolic capital: how some women politicians succeed
Gender, political representation and symbolic capital: how some women politicians succeed
Increasing women’s representation in national legislatures has become a priority for international organisations and aid donors in recent decades. Existing studies emphasise structural barriers, whether economic, cultural or religious, that inhibit women’s participation in the public sphere. Little attention is paid to women who defy these barriers to win election in contexts that are hostile to their presence. This article addresses this gap. Using a Bourdieusian approach, it shows how three senior women leaders from the Pacific Islands translate symbolic capital into political capital. For donors and would-be reformers, the lesson is that institutional interventions must be implemented in ways which allow women’s symbolic capital to be deployed as political capital, or which enhance women’s control of various forms of capital. This message is particularly relevant for those interested in the capacity of quotas and other temporary measures to translate descriptive representation into substantive developmental gains.
0143-6597
Cox, John
cee57a97-6f09-4c01-b1cd-09d380609051
Spark, Ceridwen
f70eb9cf-1e10-49bd-a0a5-3b898427a19e
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Cox, John
cee57a97-6f09-4c01-b1cd-09d380609051
Spark, Ceridwen
f70eb9cf-1e10-49bd-a0a5-3b898427a19e
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2

Cox, John, Spark, Ceridwen and Corbett, Jack (2019) Gender, political representation and symbolic capital: how some women politicians succeed. Third World Quarterly. (doi:10.1080/01436597.2019.1604132).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Increasing women’s representation in national legislatures has become a priority for international organisations and aid donors in recent decades. Existing studies emphasise structural barriers, whether economic, cultural or religious, that inhibit women’s participation in the public sphere. Little attention is paid to women who defy these barriers to win election in contexts that are hostile to their presence. This article addresses this gap. Using a Bourdieusian approach, it shows how three senior women leaders from the Pacific Islands translate symbolic capital into political capital. For donors and would-be reformers, the lesson is that institutional interventions must be implemented in ways which allow women’s symbolic capital to be deployed as political capital, or which enhance women’s control of various forms of capital. This message is particularly relevant for those interested in the capacity of quotas and other temporary measures to translate descriptive representation into substantive developmental gains.

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Gender Political Representation and Symbolic Capital_How Some Women Politicians Succeed REVISED - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 3 October 2020.
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Accepted/In Press date: 3 April 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 May 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430027
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430027
ISSN: 0143-6597
PURE UUID: f2eec6a4-ff88-4836-b1d4-eda95b59509d
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

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Date deposited: 10 Apr 2019 16:30
Last modified: 08 Aug 2019 00:29

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Contributors

Author: John Cox
Author: Ceridwen Spark
Author: Jack Corbett ORCID iD

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