How does feminism shake up political science, the study of politics and electoral politics? What difference do feminist political scientists and politicians make to political institutions, policy processes and outcomes? The scholarship and activism of pioneering feminist political scientist Professor Joni Lovenduski helped establish these questions on the political science agenda.
This book addresses key themes in Lovenduski’s seminal work. State-of-the-art chapters by leading scholars cover gender and parties; elected institutions and the state; quotas and recruitment; public opinion and women’s interests. Vignettes by prominent politicians and practitioners, including Dame Anne Begg MP, Baroness Gould, Deborah Mattinson, and the Rt Hon Theresa May, bring the academic analysis to life.
Deeds and Words reveals the impact of feminist interventions on politics in the round. Its groundbreaking assessment of feminist scholarship and politics offers an appraisal of, and fitting tribute to, Lovenduski’s own contribution to gender studies and feminist politics.
'Deeds and Words shows how feminist scholarship has exposed the gender underpinnings of electoral and political institutions – and how it has helped change political science, and politics itself. This well-conceived volume does full justice to the work of renowned scholar Joni Lovenduski, a pioneer in studying women and politics, whose career has been devoted to understanding and promoting the issues and reforms these essays examine.'
Susan J Carroll, Rutgers University
'This fine book traces the evolution of gendered analyses of politics, captures the latest advances in the field, and links the expanding research agenda to the continuing challenges of gendering political life. It is a major contribution.'
Anne Phillips, London School of Economics and Political Science
'For this volume, top-notch scholars and leading practitioners reflect carefully on feminist scholarship in politics and political science, in recognition of Professor Joni Lovenduski, whose seminal work laid the foundations for comparative gender politics. A book that will stay within quick reach on my bookshelf.'
Miki Caul Kittilson, Arizona State University
'This book is tangible evidence of Joni Lovenduski’s powerful impact on the development of gender and politics scholarship. Deeds and Words is not only a heartwarming testament to an outstanding scholar who proved that scientific excellence and social engagement go hand in hand; it will also prove an enduring reference for the topics and issues it addresses.'
Petra Meier, University of Antwerp
'This volume is an impressive tribute to the significance and influence of the scholarship and feminist politics of Professor Joni Lovenduski. It also demonstrates how far feminist political science has come theoretically and empirically within the UK, and globally, under Lovenduski's scrupulous and generous guidance. Edited by two of Lovenduski’s protégées, this work brings together a range of experts, from the academy and the real world of politics, each of whom traverses the intellectual development and practical implications of the subfield’s strands across time and space. The chapters reveal a diverse, compelling and growing body of feminist scholarship that has continuously challenged traditional disciplinary concepts (power, the state, representation), the nature of institutions and interests, and methodological choice, demanding these incorporate a consideration of gender and feminism in all their complexity. The result is a rich and valuable tapestry of what has come to constitute feminist political science, and reflecting Lovenduski’s foundational contribution. Deeds and Words represents an important source of what now must constitute a core subfield of political science.'
Jennifer Curtin, University of Auckland
Review by Elin Bjarnegård in the journal European Political Science (Palgrave), published 5 June 2015
Deeds and Words: Gendering Politics
after Joni Lovenduski is a
Festschrift in honour of Joni Lovenduski’s
pioneering work in the field of
gender and politics. It is a fine tribute to
an influential scholar, who has greatly
contributed to the growth, consolidation
and direction of this sub-discipline.
As emphasized in its title, the book also
seeks to link the words of feminist scholars
to deeds and actual feminist policy
influence, in the spirit of Lovenduski’s own
engagement with practical politics. The
book addresses key themes in Lovenduski’s
seminal work in a series of chapters
written by leading scholars coupled with
vignettes written by practitioners and
The themes addressed span the wide
field of gender and politics scholarship in
the United Kingdom and beyond. Broad
chapters such as Vicky Randall’s account
of the long project of gendering political
science and Yvonne Galligan’s systematic
review of the comparative study of politics
and gender in political behaviour, institutional
approaches and policy analyses
provide overviews of the development
of the field across time and space. The
more focussed contributions, such as
Meryl Kenny’s chapter on political recruitment,
Pippa Norris and Mona Lena Krook’s
on electoral gender quotas, and Peter
Allen, Rosie Campbell and Ana Espírito-
Santo’s chapter on women’s political
interests demonstrate more concretely
the theoretical and empirical advances,
and challenges that the field is presently
preoccupied with. The vignettes accompanying
these more focussed chapters
illustrate the real world politics of the
issues at hand and provide relevant illustrations
of the academic puzzles. They are
particularly useful when they explicitly
comment on, or use the same language
as, the preceding chapter. This is the case
in Dame Anne Begg’s account of her personal
experiences being recruited to an
All-Woman shortlist, which she frames in
the terms ‘supply and demand’ also used
to structure Kenny’s chapter (and, indeed,
the literature on recruitment more
broadly). The editors of the book, Rosie
Campbell and Sarah Childs, who look upon Lovenduski as an important mentor
and dear friend, add a personal touch to
the introduction and conclusion. The
result as a whole is a book that is a rare
presentation of not just research, but of
the development of a research field, complete
with the engagement and struggles
it entails – but also shedding light on the
important friendships and networks that
form part of any long-term research
endeavour. As such, it is a true guidebook
to the field of gender and politics.
The link between deeds and words is an
inspiring and refreshing look at what academia
can accomplish in real world politics,
and perhaps the most important
contribution of the book. It is particularly
successful when it is also integrated into
the scholarly chapters. Two chapters
stand out here: the chapter on the words
and deeds of RNGS by Amy E. Mazur and
Dorothy G. McBride, and the chapter on
the critical mass theory in public and
scholarly debates by Drude Dahlerup.
Mazur and McBride present the work,
methods and findings of the Research
Network on Gender, Politics and the State
(RNGS). They also explicitly link these
findings to concrete policy influence of
different kinds: recommendations for a
stronger women’s policy agency presence
in the US federal government presented
to the Obama administration; participation
in writing reports from a UN Expert
Group Meeting on ‘Equal Participation of
Women and Men in Decision-making Processes’;
and the development of a pamphlet
on how to make gender equality
mechansims work, targeting women’s
policy agency staff (to name a few). Dahlerup’s
contribution points to the complexity
of the interaction between scholarly
words and practical deeds.While the scholarly
discussion about the need for a ‘critical
mass’ in women’s representation has
primarily aimed to highlight the conditions
that women often face when they enter
male-dominated environments in small
numbers, the concept of ‘critical mass’ has
had a life of its own among practitioners.
Quota advocates around the world have
frequently claimed that research has
shown that at least 30 per cent women in
parliament is needed for women to be able
to make a difference. Despite the fact that
research on the critical mass has been
misinterpreted, it has been a very useful
practical tool, leading to a large number of
countries adopting quotas and passing the
30 per cent threshold. Ironically, because
it has already been used to influence policy,
researchers can finally start testing the
critical mass hypothesis.
The advances of the field are, as they
should be, at the forefront of this book.
Such a summary of the progress of a
research field is also an opportunity for
identifying challenges. The highlighted
need for interaction between research
and practice remains a constant challenge
and motivator for feminist researchers.
Another challenge, where perhaps less
has been accomplished, is the bridging
between gendered political science and
‘mainstream’ political science. The growth
and expansion of the field of gender and
politics is impressive and it is by now a
strong and vibrant sub-field of political
science. Many contributors, however,
highlight the fact that the bridge to mainstream
political science is still too much of
a one-way street. Feminist scholarship
builds on challenging traditional concepts
and findings in political science. The chapters
about political institutions (Fiona
Mackay), political parties (Sarah Childs
and Rainbow Murray) and policy (Joyce
Outshoorn and Jennifer Rubin) clearly
show how gendered research builds on
existing mainstream research, demonstrating
that what has been presented as
a general theory has in fact been based on
a male norm. Political institutions, formal
and informal, have gendered cultures with
different consequences for men and
women. Despite this fact, a large part of
mainstream political scientists are yet to
be convinced that explicit and thorough gender analyses are needed for political
research to be relevant.
The challenge for the field of gender and
politics, having now established itself as
an important field of research in its own
right, is now to reach out beyond its own
tightly knit network to other sub-disciplines.
This challenge, too, is in line with
Lovenduski’s idea as cited on Page 87:
‘Finally, I am once again to draw attention
of political scientists to the importance of
gender to the study of politics. I hope this
intervention will not only inform and
extend discussion of the methods that
best achieve equality of women’s representation
and provides research for its
advocates, but also add to the pressure
to incorporate gender into the mainstream
of political science’.
Review in the LSE Review of Books by Muireann O'Dwyer, published December 2014
'Though it is a collection of essays from some of the leading scholars from feminist political science, Deeds and Words is more than a review of the field. While it does indeed offer an excellent overview of the key contributions to feminist political science, and would therefore be a useful read for any students of gender and politics, there are two core arguments present in this volume that make it much more than a textbook. Firstly it shows the need for interaction between research and activism, and secondly it demonstrates the continuing need for the process of bringing gender into the political science mainstream. It is fitting then, that the collection aims to celebrate Joni Lovenduski, a feminist political scientist who contributed so much to those two aims.
In their chapter on “Gender and Political Institutions”, Fiona Mackay, Faith Armitage and Rosa Malley discuss the interaction between feminist political science and new institutionalism. This chapter highlights the potential for developing a distinctively feminist institutionalism – a way of exploring, explaining and testing the gendered nature of institutions, or the “rules of the game”. Feminist institutionalism incorporates study of both formal rules and structures and the informal side of institutions. It shows how both aspects of institutions can be gendered, whether that means rules which exclude or inhibit women’s participation, or informal expectations of behaviour that are built on gendered assumptions. This chapter offers two highly illustrative examples of the feminist institutionalist approach: Armitage’s work on the Office of the Speaker in Westminster and Malley’s comparative study of inclusion at Westminister and the Scottish Parliament. These cases highlight how the application of a gender lens can deepen understandings of the functioning of critical political institutions. As this chapter argues, the feminist institutional approach is one of great potential for feminist political scientists seeking to explore the expressions of power both within and on behalf of political institutions.
Among Lovenduski’s many contributions is her work in the establishment of the Research Network on Gender, Politics and the State – the RNGS. Amy G. Mazur and Dorothy E. McBride discuss this work in their chapter of the same name. This project draws upon many of the approaches within feminist political science, including feminist institutionalism, gender and comparative politics, state feminism and gender and representation. The project is characterised by rigorous empirical work, combining methods both qualitative and quantitative, as well as a commitment to translating the findings from such work into practical, and usable information that can influence policy, activism and politics. The RNGS project produced several influential reports and briefing papers, including a “User’s Guide” for the implementation of gender equality mechanisms which contains concrete advice for the adoption of best practice in this area. The project has also been truly global, with research and dissemination crossing national boundaries, and engaging with national, supranational and international actors. As such, the project exemplifies some of the finest characteristics of Lovenduski’s career – a focus on collaboration, consistent engagement with activism, as well as a commitment to the highest standards of research.
One of the innovations of this book is the inclusion of several “vignettes” – short pieces contributed by policy makers, activists and politicians. These vignettes were contributed by women working within politics – women such as Conservative Party MP Theresa May, Baroness Howe, Labour Party MP Dame Anne Begg and policy activists such as Mary-Ann Stephenson. Stephenson’s vignette discusses her work with the Fawcett society. This is a story that illustrates the need for engagement between feminist political scientists and activists, with each informing and supporting the work of the other. The Fawcett Society relied on empirical work on women’s voting behaviour in order to advance its claims in mainstream political contestation. In particular, it was the work of feminist activists, key amongst them Lovenduski herself, which informed the campaign to make all women shortlists a legal reality. In another vignette, Baroness Howe brings her experience of working with many public bodies, including the Equal Opportunities Commission. By drawing on her extensive experience in public life, Baroness Howe is able to highlight several key moments where feminist research was combined with activism and an opportunity for change to advance anti-discrimination laws.
These vignettes transform the call for interaction between activism and the academy from rhetoric into reality, and offer inspiring examples of where such collaboration generated meaningful change. They offer a strong reminder that research can have profound, and if utilised correctly, hugely beneficial impacts in the real life practice of politics. It is this understanding of the work of feminist political scientists as comprising more than words, but deeds also, that runs through this book, and makes it so much more than a review of an academic field – it transforms into a call to action for feminists within and outside of the academy.
It would have been easy for a book of this type to amount to little more than a celebration. Celebration of Joni Lovenduski’s work is certainly appropriate and deserved, and it is important to recognise how far feminist political science has come in recent decades. But there is a real danger of the project of reviewing the development of the field to encourage complacency. In an era where gender is present as a variable in most political research, and grant applications often require a gender statement as standard, it can be all too tempting to believe that political science has been sufficiently gendered. This book takes care, however, to point out that the work is not nearly finished. The various chapters point out potential avenues for future work, as well as highlighting continued gaps and areas of gender blindness. Further, to look back over the work of recent decades should serve as inspiration to keep working, rather than to sit back. To see the influence that feminist political science has had is to see the influence it can have in the future. In the end, there can be no more fitting tribute to Joni Lovenduski’s work and career than to continue this work.'