Has male dominance in political life been broken? Will gender balance in elected assemblies soon be reached? Around 100 years after women's suffrage was gained, and in spite of much effort, most countries are still at some distance from this goal. In 2013, the average representation of women in the world's parliaments was around 20 per cent. This book analyses the longitudinal development of women's political representation in eight old democracies, where women were enfranchised before and around World War I: Denmark, Iceland, Germany, The Netherlands, New Jersey (USA), New South Wales (Australia), Sweden, and the United Kingdom. These countries/states have all followed an incremental track model of change in women's position in political life, but have followed different trajectories. This slow development stands in contrast to recent examples of fast track development in many countries from the Global South, t least as a result of the adoption of gender quotas. Furthermore, the book discusses in four separate chapters the common historical development in old democracies, the different trajectories and sequences, the framing of women politicians, and the impact of party and party system change. In this book an invative model of male dominance is developed and defined in terms of both degree and scope. Four stages are identified: male mopoly, small mirity, large mirity, and gender balance. The book then reconceptualizes male dominance by looking at horizontal and vertical sex segregation in politics, at male-coded rms in the political workplace and at discourses of women as politicians. According to the time-lag theory, gender balance in politics will gradually be achieved. However, this theory is challenged by recent stagnation and drops in women's representation in some of the old democracies. A new concept of conditional irreversibility is developed in the final discussion about whether we are heading for gender balance in politics.
Drude Dahlerup is Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden and was educated at University of Aarhus in Denmark. Her published works on gender and politics include The New Women's Movement. Feminism and Political Power in Europe and the U.S.A (ed., 1986) Rodstromperne. Den danske Rodstrompebevaegelses udviking, nytaenkning og gennemslag 1970-1985, Vol I-II, 1998 (The Danish Redstocking Movement 1970-85) Women, Quotas and Politics (ed., 2006), as well as many articles and essays in edited collections on electoral gender quotas, gender equality policies, and the women's movement. She was a partner of the integrated EU-project, FEMCIT, 2007-2011, and together with International IDEA and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, she operates the global web site on quotas: www.quotaproject.org. Lately, Drude Dahlerup has worked as a consultant on women's political empowerment in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Kosovo, and most recently, March 2011, in Tunisia. Monique Leyenaar is Professor of Comparative Politics at Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. She has written several books, articles and chapters in edited books on women and politics. Examples are 'Challenges to Women's Political Representation in Europe' in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 34, 1, 2008, 1-7 and Political Empowerment of Women. The Netherlands and Other Countries, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2004. Leyenaar has worked as a consultant for the Dutch Government and European Union on a variety of issues among which the representation of women in politics. She was a member of the European Network on Women in Decision Making in the 1990s. Since 2005 she has been a member of the Dutch Electoral Council and since 2009, a member of the Council for Public Administration.