Chapter

Gender and the Liberal Democrats: national and international context

Evans Elizabeth

in Women and the Liberal Democrats

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719083471
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702277 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719083471.003.0001
Gender and the Liberal Democrats: national and international context

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The Liberal Democrats are the UK's third party at Westminster: they currently have fifty-seven MPs, less than 10 percent of the House of Commons. Despite the fact that they are currently in coalition government with the Conservatives, their third party status is reflected in the relative lack of attention paid to the party, hence less is known about the party's organisation, policies and personnel compared to the Labour and the Conservative parties. This introductory chapter establishes both the national and international context within which the themes of this book — the descriptive, substantive, and symbolic representation of women by the Liberal Democrats — are examined. As such, it addresses five key areas: it provides a brief overview of the Liberal Democrats in respect of contemporary electoral politics in the UK; considers inter-party comparisons of women's representation; situates this research within an international context by comparing the number and percentage of Liberal Democrat women MPs with other liberal parties from Europe; outlines the main contentions of the research; and explores the various approaches to the concept of representation that underpin this study.

Keywords: UK; Liberal Democrats; women's representation; electoral politics; Westminster; House of Commons; women MPs; gender; liberal parties; Europe

Chapter.  9603 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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