Chapter

The Liberal Democrats: ideology and organisation

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/9780719083471.003.0002
The Liberal Democrats: ideology and organisation

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To understand the Liberal Democrats' response to women's descriptive representation, one must also understand the ideology and organisation of the party. Analysis of these institutional factors will allow us to assess the extent to which a masculine ethos pervades formal rules and informal values. This is important, because party rules and values help determine the party's response to women's lack of descriptive representation. This chapter establishes the milieu within which women and feminists can seek to influence debates surrounding women's descriptive representation within the Liberal Democrats. It explores three key arguments: ideological tensions between liberalism and feminism regarding the concept of equality have influenced the way in which the party approaches the issue of women's representation; the structure and organisation of the party are such that few women reach senior levels within the party; and the women's organisation Women Liberal Democrats has limited opportunities to influence the party leadership.

Keywords: Liberal Democrats; women; descriptive representation; ideology; organisation; liberalism; feminism; equality; Women Liberal Democrats; party leadership

Chapter.  8781 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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