“Paxton and Hughes provide the most comprehensive coverage yet attempted of women's increasing role in electoral politics across the globe. Women, Politics, and Power should be a valuable contribution to courses in political sociology and globalization as well as gendered courses in politics.”


Women, Politics, and Power provides a clear and detailed introduction to women's political participation and representation across a wide range of countries and regions. Using broad statistical overviews and detailed case-study accounts, authors Pamela Paxton and Melanie Hughes document both historical trends and the contemporary state of women's political strength across diverse countries. In addition to describing worldwide themes, the book acknowledges differences among women through attention to intersectionality and heterogeneity among women. Dedicated chapters on six geographic regions highlight the distinct paths women may take to political power in different parts of the world. There is simply no other book that offers such a thorough and multidisciplinary synthesis of research on women's political power around the world.

Do Women Make a Difference?

Do women make a difference?

In previous chapters, we discussed women's fight for representation and what factors explain women's differential success in gaining power around the world. But a final question remains to be answered—what difference do women make anyway? Put another way, does having women in positions of power change anything? Have women changed the style of politics? Have they influenced public policy? If you viewed the past few chapters as addressing how women gain descriptive representation (see Chapter 1), then this chapter addresses women's substantive representation.

Even if women act and legislate exactly the same way as men, justice arguments imply that, as half the population, women should appear in politics. But arguments for women's representation are even more powerful ...

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