Chapter

Supply and demand: the political recruitment of women<sup>1</sup>

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/9780719083471.003.0004
Supply and demand: the political recruitment of women1

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Political parties repeatedly cite the low number of women who put themselves forward for selection as an explanation for women's descriptive under-representation. They argue that it is a problem with supply and not demand, the latter of which signifies at least some form of discrimination at the point of selection. Norris and Lovenduski's appropriation of the supply and demand model for analysis of political recruitment has become a key tool for the exploration of the descriptive under-representation of women in politics. For a party such as the Liberal Democrats, the use of the supply and demand model is a key part of assessing data and identifying problems regarding the low number of women MPs and any regional variations. This chapter considers three key inter-related themes that impinge upon women's descriptive representation: approval and selection processes; the interplay between societal and institutional barriers; and evidence for supply or demand-side problems. It argues that the party should revisit the issue of the all-women shortlists, or some other form of equality guarantee, in order to ensure women's election to Parliament.

Keywords: Liberal Democrats; women MPs; descriptive representation; political parties; supply; demand; political recruitment; all-women shortlists; Parliament; selection

Chapter.  11797 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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