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CAWP OCCASIONAL PAPERS SERIES

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Papers are required for our Occasional Paper Series. Papers should consider any aspect of the relationship between gender and politics; gender and democracy and gender and representation relating to any country, region or case-study, or may be a comparative study. Papers should be 6000-8000 words including references. Papers will be published on this website. Papers should be submitted for consideration to Victoria Montgomery, CAWP, 21 University Square, Belfast, BT7 1PA. An electronic copy should also be sent to cawp@qub.ac.uk

Below are abstracts for the fourteen titles in our occasional papers series. The full text of each are available in PDF format; Adobe Acrobat reader is required for this. Alternatively some papers are available in booklet form from CAWP.

Women Politicians and Malestream Media: a Game of Two Sides
Karen Ross
Even taking the most generous view of the media's role in the articulation of a normative social world order which privileges men and male concerns over those of women - i.e. as mere conduit of social quo politics - it is nonetheless irresistible to contend that there must be some element of complicity, some sense of collusion with the circulation of words and pictures which routinise what it is to be female and male in contemporary society. And it is precisely the 'packaging' of politics and in this current context, the 'packaging' of women politicians, which we need to read more carefully. If news is a commodity and we are all consumers, then how women politicians are 'sold' to us in qualitative terms is as important as how often they appear in the news: volume matters but context matters more. Informed by interviews with eight women MLAs, this paper argues that women parliamentarians are often rendered invisible by the media's lack of interest in them but that increasingly, they are developing proactive strategies with which to engage with news media on their own terms.

Mainstreaming : Northern Ireland's Participative-Democratic Approach
Tahnya Barnett Donaghy
In response to calls for a greater understanding of the potential benefits and problems associated with its application, academics have sought to further the conceptual understanding of mainstreaming. This article places the unique Northern Ireland case study of mainstreaming amongst the existing literature and, through this, develops the understanding of a participative-democratic model which includes not only considerations of process, but also the impact of the model's origin on its design. While research in the area of mainstreaming remains in the development stage, as the process and approaches adopted continue to be played out in practice, it is becoming increasingly clear that neither the expert-bureaucratic model nor the participative-democratic model are sufficient when developed as largely mutually exclusive approaches. Best practice must incorporate a combination of each, but as the understandings of the impact of origin are showing, it appears that it is only likely this will be achieved when there is both a strong advocacy from equality groups within the community and a strong movement within the bureaucracy for equality developments, and both of these movements are given equal consideration by the decision makers in government.

Women Legislators in Northern Ireland: Gender and Politics in the New Legislative Assembly
Kimberly Cowell-Meyers
Using data drawn from interviews with 27 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Northern Ireland in 2001, Kimberly Cowell-Meyers' study analyses the role of women in the new Assembly by comparing the women to their male colleagues in their attitudes towards representation, the issues that concern them, and their perception of the role of women in society. Despite evidence from other settings that men and women typically differ in their orientation towards and understanding of politics, and their style and interests in politics, this study concludes that the male and female MLAs actually do not differ very significantly in their interests and concerns or in their styles of public representation. These findings may be explained by the absence of a critical mass of women in the Assembly and by the specifics of this particular political transition.

The Politics of Prostitution: The Women's Movement, State Feminism and Parliamentary Debates in Post-Authoritarian Spain
Celia Valiente
Since the mid-1960s, policy relating to prostitution in Spain was broadly abolitionist, ie prostitution was not defined as a crime, but behaviours related to prostitution, such as promoting the prostitution of others or benefiting from it were considered crimes. However, since 1995, the central state has decriminalised most behaviours related to prostitution and prostitution policy has increasingly focused on the fight against trafficking women with the purpose of sexually exploiting them. This paper documents the modest role played by the women's movement and gender-equality institutions in the parliamentary debates that preceded the making of the main pieces of legislation on prostitution in post-authoritarian Spain. Two reasons seem to explain this weak intervention of the movement and gender equality institutions: the low priority given to prostitution by both actors; and the poor permeability of Parliament to influences by external agents.

From Government to Governance, Civic Participation and 'New Politics': the Context of Potential Opportunities for the Better Representation of Women
Elizabeth Meehan
The symbolic and substantive representation of women has become increasingly central to justifications in the UK for its modernization and devolution programmes. In the case of devolution, there is a significant difference between demands for reform in the 1990s compared to those in the 1970s. These changes, in particular the emergence of 'governance' rather than 'government' as the guiding principle for constitutional reform, have had a substantial impact on the effectiveness of institutions and policy-making, as well as women's roles within those processes. This paper is not about the desirability or feasibility of specific UK reforms; rather, it is about the wider context from which those reforms have emerged. Beginning with governance, the paper turns to civil society and social capital, looking at both wider contexts and specific UK manifestations. Finally, the paper concludes with a preliminary indication of how the seeds of egalitarianism, participation, and inclusiveness have been sown in the constitutional settlements of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

How Can Women MPs Make a Difference?: Reconsidering Group Representation and the Responsible Party Model
Helena Catt
Calls for group representation are at odds with the trditional views on representation and election that underpin democratic government as presently practised and understood. This stand-off is not only a problem of institutional design but also a wider one of democratic theory, both of which have important bases in political practice. So this discussion crosses between theoretical and practical accounts of democracy. This paper consider the proposition that women MPs cannot both have an impact and be accountable to voters, with the intent of clarifying the problems and suggesting practical and theoretical answers to some of them. It sketches the background on representation theory, a politics of presence and group rights, then examines aspeccts of the perceived problems and possible solutions. It ends with the conclusion that women Mps can make a difference without losing their accountability through political parties.

Women and Constitutional Change in Wales
Paul Chaney
Research examining the pre-devolution mode of governance in Wales concluded that it was male-dominated, exclusive, centralizing and anti-democratic. The chronnic and long-standing under-representation of women in Welsh politics before and during the period of administrative devolution (1964-1999) served to undermine both the accountability and legitimacy of the prevailing mode of governance. Recent constitutional change has begun a process of rapid change: building on increased opportunities for women provided by the Assembly's unique and innovative statutory equality duty, a combination of factors has resulted in a transformation of the role of women in 'devolved' Welsh politics and the emergence of a new equality agenda. This paper examines how women entered political debates and influenced the processes of constitutional change. It addresses the impact that the post-1999 structures, institutions and practices have had on women and women's roles, and what lesson can be - and are being - drawn from this experience.

From Women's Rights to Gender Mainstreaming: an Examination of International Gender Norms in the Republic of Ireland
Gemma Carney
This paper argues that the introduction of 'gender mainstreaming' in the Republic of Ireland represents a concrete step in the implementation of international gender equality norms through national and supranational institutions. Political and institutional support for gender mainstreaming is unprecedented for any equality policy. Why governments decided to promote and develop strategies such as gender mainstreaming and the implications of that decision for Irish gender policy are the main questions posed by this paper. 'There's no explanation for why its proliferated the way it has. There's a lot of theories but there's nothing convincing' (AI, 2002). There are also arguments that governments only adopt gender mainstreaming as part of an image making exercise, with little or no resources assigned for the implementation of the policy. Is this the case in the Republic of Ireland?
This paper presents some of the findings of doctoral research questioning the introduction and implementation of gender mainstreaming in the Republic of Ireland.

What can the South African transition tell us about gender and democratization?
Georgina Waylen
Few transitions to democracy have been seen as successful in gender terms. South Africa is an exception. This has been attributed to a broad umbrella group, the Women's National Coalition (WNC) that organized to influence the transition between 1990 and 1994. However, more factors, in addition to women's movements, must be incorporated into the analysis.
This paper will explore the conditions that enabled this women's coalition to achieve a number of its aims and will thereby increase our understanding of the complex interaction of different factors that help to determine how far women's organizing is effective during transitions to democracy.

Gender Imbalance in Representative Democracy: Women and Local Government in London & Birmingham 1918 - 2003
Paul Lambe, Colin Rallings, Michael Thrasher & Laurence Ware
Women remain under-represented in virtually all democratic institutions in the UK. Although the representation of women at the local government level has improved in recent decades, only slightly more than 25% of councillors are women and approximatley 22% of council cabinet positions held by women. These proportions vary between different types of authority and between the same types of authority. (Borisyuk and Thrasher 2003: 1) The aim of this paper is to throw some light on why the proportions of women candidates and councillors should vary both temporally and spatially.

Who's the Boss?: The "Girl Power" Frame in New Zealand Newspapers
Susan Fountaine
This paper draws on the work of Entman (1993) to explore how the New Zealand media, through selecting and making salient particular aspects of women's political experience, construct a 'girl power' frame. Using newspaper articles covering the election of Margaret Wilson as parliamentary speaker in March 2005, the paper shows how this framing simultaneously draws attention to the apparent successes of female political power and encourages a negative response through reference to male insecurity, political correctness, and takeovers. Further, the paper also suggests that this framing is implicit in other stories with a gender dimension, leading to the conclusion that the 'girl power' frame, while seemingly positive about women's achievements, is also suggestive of a backlash against women, and may ultimately hinder women's progress and harm the terrain of gender relations in New Zealand.

Gender and Executive Activism: Will the United States Elect a Female President in 2008?
Paula A Monopoli
The United States finally passed and ratified the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, making women full citizens. However, the promise of that Amendment has not yet been fulfilled, if one interprets it as promising more than simply the right to vote, but rather a full panoply of political rights, the right to stand for office and the right to equality of representation in the American political system. Unlike the Fourteenth and the Fifteenth Amendments which have been interpreted far more expansively in terms of race and voting rights, the Nineteenth has remained unextended and unexplored. As a result, women still lag behind and the United States is still a monosexual democracy in many ways. This paper then explores the question of whether there is any room for women in the American political system.

Women's Civil and Political Citizenship in the Post-Good Friday Agreement Period in Northern Ireland
Katherine Side
This paper examines women's civil and political citizenship rights in the post-Good Friday Agreement period in Northern Ireland. It argues that while The Good Friday Agreement offered an initial potential to expand these rights, these rights have not yet been realised. Three possible explanations for this situation are examined including: the slow pace of equality and gender mainstreaming, reluctance on the part of political parties to take up available (United Kingdom) legislation to advance women's candidature for political office and the limits of a rights based discourse in Northern Ireland. Some possibilities for working beyond the Good Friday Agreement to advance women's civil and political citizenship rights in Northern Ireland are proposed and considered.

A Transient Transition: The Cultural and Institutional Obstacles Impeding the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition in its Progression from Informal to Formal Politics'
This paper authored by Cera Murtagh was previously part of our Occasional Paper Series. However, it has now been published in Irish Political Studies, Vol.23 (1), February 2008. To view the abstract and full bibliographical reference please click on the title.

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