Can Conservatives represent women? Descriptively of course, they do.
Conservative parties and organisations are increasingly feminised; conservative women sit in many of the world’s parliaments; a few women have led conservative parties; and there are, and have been, Conservative Prime Ministers. But whether these women actually stand for women, act for women and re-gender representation is likely to invite greater contestation.
Contributors to this edited collection address head-on the puzzle of conservative women who engage in gendered political representation but do so within a conservative setting. Individual chapters examine women’s participation as conservative movement and party members, supporters, candidates, leaders, legislators and ministers – in countries ranging from Europe, the US, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Turkey and Morocco. Assessment is made of the nature of their representational contribution, and the relationship they have with conservative women’s views in society.
’This book contributes greatly to our knowledge about gender and political representation, not only because it fills a gap in the literature on feminism and conservatism but also, most importantly, because it challenges feminist taboos about the role of conservative women as acting for women. The detailed empirical analysis disentangles what some scholars would consider an oxymoron – feminism and conservatism – and identifies the diversity of women’s interests beyond stereotypes. In this way, the book provides a more conceptually refined and empirically grounded notion of what women’s interests, claims, and issues actually are, while improving existing understandings of the relations between substantive and descriptive representation.’
Emanuela Lombardo, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
‘“Agenda-setting” may be an overused claim – but it’s richly deserved this time. In Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation, Karen Celis, Sarah Childs and their distinguished contributors break new ground – empirically and conceptually – in the study of the gendered dimensions of political parties of the Right, including the descriptive, substantive and symbolic representation of women. Timely and authoritative.’
Fiona Mackay, University of Edinburgh
’This book offers a completely new perspective on an old question: How is politics gendered? In chapters that are rich, well-structured, conceptually sharp and empirically rich, the authors of Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation analyse the many gendered faces of conservatism across the globe, challenging not simply gender scholarship, but also mainstream political science understandings of political representation.’
Mieke Verloo, Radboud University Nijmegen