Chapter

Conclusions: representing women?

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/9780719083471.003.0007
Conclusions: representing women?

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Despite the equal opportunity rhetoric, the Liberal Democrats party is an institution embedded in a masculine ethos and ideology. This is illustrated by the dominance of one sex in key roles throughout the organisation, juxtaposed with a ‘gender blind’ ideological approach to equality and a poor record of selecting and electing women. The lack of women in senior and influential positions in the party, a noted masculine ethos within the party, a poor track record on electing women MPs, and a somewhat faltering approach to increasing the number of women MPs are the key findings from a gender analysis of the party. Do the ideology and organisation of the Liberal Democrats reinforce masculine norms and values? Is the party suffering from demand-side rather than supply-side problems vis-à-vis women candidates? With so few women MPs, can substantive representation of women be possible with the Liberal Democrats? Are there sufficient critical actors working to feminise the party? This concluding chapter argues that the Liberal Democrats' substantive representation of women is undermined by the lack of descriptive representation.

Keywords: substantive representation; women MPs; Liberal Democrats; masculine ethos; ideology; organisation; descriptive representation

Chapter.  3385 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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