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Article

Access_open The Feminisation of Belgian Local Party Politics

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords local politics, local party branches, local elections, gender quotas, Belgium
Authors Robin Devroe, Silvia Erzeel and Petra Meier
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates the feminisation of local politics. Starting from the observation that the representation of women in local electoral politics lags behind the regional and federal level, and taking into account the relevance of local party branches in the recruitment and selection of candidates for elections, we examine the extent to which there is an ‘internal’ feminisation of local party branches and how this links to the ‘external’ feminisation of local electoral politics. Based on surveys among local party chairs, the article maps patterns of feminisation over time and across parties, investigates problems local branches encounter in the recruitment of candidates for local elections, and analyses the (attitudes towards the) measures taken to further the integration of women in local electoral politics. We conclude that internal and external feminisation do not always go hand in hand and that local politics continues to be a male-dominated political biotope.


Robin Devroe
Robin Devroe is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University and member of the research group GASPAR. Her main research interest is the study of the political representation of diverse social groups and voting behaviour, with a specific focus on the descriptive representation of women, and she has a fascination for experimental methods. Her doctoral work (2019, Ghent University) focused on the prevalence of political gender stereotypes among Flemish voters. In the past, Robin was a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University (2018, US). Since 2020, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Group on Gender and Politics.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research interests include party politics, political representation, gender and intersectionality, and comparative politics. Her current research focuses on three main areas: the integration of gender equality in political parties, intersectionality and political representation in Europe, and the consequences of economic and social inequality for representative democracy. Since 2018, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Standing Group on Gender and Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier is Professor of Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the (re)presentation of gender+ in politics and policies. Late work focused on the conceptualisation of symbolic representation, how it operates and the issues at stake from an inclusive perspective. Recently, she turned to study democratic deficits in federal systems, especially Belgium, and processes of de-democratisation in general. She is particularly interested in understanding how such processes affect the demos, more particularly from a gender, an LGBTQI or an ethnic perspective, and what dynamics of marginalisation and exclusion they generate.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek en recente publicaties spitsen zich toe op gender en politieke vertegenwoordiging, rechts populisme, intersectionaliteit in politieke partijen, en economische ongelijkheid. Haar onderzoek is vaak vergelijkend, met een geografische focus op West-Europa.

Eline Severs
Eline Severs doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek concentreert zich voornamelijk op vraagstukken van democratische vertegenwoordiging, de betekenis van legitimiteit, en democratische inclusie. Recent redigeerde ze, samen met Suzanne Dovi (University of Arizona), een symposium over de ethiek van vertegenwoordigers in PS: Political Science and Politics (2018, forthcoming).
Article

Het electorale succes van etnische minderheden in Brussel: de rol van kiezers en partijen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2017
Keywords Brussels, electoral system, ethnic minorities, political representation
Authors Chloé Janssen, Régis Dandoy and Silvia Erzeel
AbstractAuthor's information

    European democracies have grown ethnically diverse in the recent years. Yet, ethnic minorities remain underrepresented in politics. Despite the theoretical argument asserting that ethnic minorities should perform better in systems allowing voters to cast intra party preferences, empirical studies bring mixed results. In particular, scholars highlight the role of both parties and voters in explaining the electoral success or failure of ethnic minority candidates. Using data on regional elections between 1995 and 2014 in Brussels, our study shows that even though parties have made gradual efforts to include ethnic minorities on their lists, voters appear to be an important force behind the election of ethnic minorities. We find variations according to party ideology, with socialist and – to a lesser extent – Christian democratic candidates benefiting the most from preferential voting. However, the positive impact of preference votes seems to decrease over time, as parties themselves become more inclusive and tend to allocate more realistic positions to their ethnic minority candidates in recent elections.


Chloé Janssen
Chloé Janssen is als doctoraal onderzoekster verbonden aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Daarvoor werkte ze als FNRS research fellow aan de Université catholique de Louvain. Haar onderzoek handelt over de politieke vertegenwoordiging van etnische minderheden en vrouwen, en focust in het bijzonder op het effect van het kiessysteem en de rol van politieke partijen.

Régis Dandoy
Régis Dandoy is docent aan de Waseda University (Tokio, Japan) en gastdocent aan de Université catholique de Louvain. Zijn belangrijkste onderzoeksinteresses zijn Belgische politiek, vergelijkend federalisme, regionale politiek en party manifestos. Hij publiceerde hierover in internationale tijdschriften en is tevens coredacteur van verschillende boeken over Belgische politiek.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek en recente publicaties spitsen zich toe op gender en politieke vertegenwoordiging, rechts populisme, intersectionaliteit in politieke partijen, en economische ongelijkheid. Haar onderzoek is vaak vergelijkend, met een geografische focus op West-Europa.
Research Note

Onbekende gezichten

Substantiële vertegenwoordiging van vrouwen door mannelijke, rechtse en niet-feministische parlementsleden

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2015
Authors Karen Celis and Silvia Erzeel
Author's information

Karen Celis
Karen Celis is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en is co-directeur van RHEA Expertisecentrum Gender, Diversiteit, Intersectionaliteit. Ze verricht theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek naar de politieke vertegenwoordiging van groepen (vrouwen, etnische minderheden, klasse, holebi’s en leeftijdsgroepen), gelijkekansenbeleid en ‘staatsfeminisme’.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is F.R.S.-FNRS postdoctoraal onderzoekster aan het Institut de sciences politiques Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE) van de Université catholique de Louvain en gastdocent aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Haar onderzoek handelt over de interne werking van politieke partijen, politieke ideologie, vergelijkende politiek, en diversiteit/intersectionaliteit in Europese parlementen.
Article

Hoe parlementsleden denken over de legitimiteit van quota: een Europese vergelijking

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2013
Keywords gender quotas, affirmative action, political representation, Members of Parliament, comparative research
Authors Silvia Erzeel and Didier Caluwaerts
AbstractAuthor's information

    Even though gender quotas are increasingly adopted, the legitimacy of such measures remains an issue of controversy. In this contribution, we ask how MPs, i.e. the key players in the implementation and adoption of quotas, think about affirmative action, and under which conditions they find quotas to be legitimate measures for improving gender equality. Our results reveal that much variation exists as to how MPs perceive the legitimacy of quotas. This variation plays out at both the individual and the macro level. Women and left-wing MPs consider quotas to be more legitimate than men and right-wing MPs. The openness of the parliamentary arena towards women’s movement proves to be an important condition for the positive evaluation of quotas. The broader electoral and parliamentary context only has a conditional effect: it influences female MPs’ assessment of quotas but not that of male legislators.


Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is F.R.S.-FNRS postdoctoraal onderzoekster (chargée de recherche) aan het Institut de sciences politiques Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE) van de Université catholique de Louvain. Haar onderzoek handelt over politieke vertegenwoordiging, politieke partijen en gender.

Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is als postdoctoraal onderzoeker van het FWO verbonden aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel, en als Fulbright Frank Boas Fellow aan het Ash Center for Democracy van Harvard University. Zijn onderzoek gaat over participatieve en deliberatieve democratie.
Introduction

Quo vadis quota? M/V van politiek tot bedrijf

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2013
Authors Karen Celis and Silvia Erzeel
Author's information

Karen Celis
Karen Celis is als onderzoeksprofessor verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel en is lid van het RHEA Centrum voor Gender & Diversiteit. Ze verricht theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek naar de politieke vertegenwoordiging van groepen.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is F.R.S.-FNRS postdoctoraal onderzoekster (chargée de recherche) aan het Institut de sciences politiques Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE) van de Université catholique de Louvain. Haar onderzoek handelt over politieke vertegenwoordiging, politieke partijen en gender.
Article

Vertegenwoordigende claims en de substantiële vertegenwoordiging van vrouwen in de Kamer

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2011
Keywords political representation, representative claims, substantive representation of women, legislative behaviour
Authors Silvia Erzeel
AbstractAuthor's information

    Studies of women’s representation have often explored the link between women’s descriptive and women’s substantive representation in parliament, analyzing whether female representatives bring a unique – and often feminist – contribution to the representation of women’s interests. Doing so, however, these studies have failed to consider “how women’s substantive representation actually occurs” (Celis & Childs, 2008; Childs & Krook, 2009). Recent studies therefore propose to apply a claim-based framework, leaving open how, why and by whom women’s substantive representation occurs (Celis et al., 2008). In this article, we put this new claim-based approach to the empirical test. More in particular, we consider its added value by studying the variety of claims made about women in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (1995-2007). We conclude that a claim-based framework indeed brings additional actors and perspectives to the fore, but that there are limits as to which claims are formulated and by whom.


Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is doctoraatsstudente Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek handelt over de descriptieve en substantiële vertegenwoordiging van vrouwen in parlementaire settings.

    The article deals with the relationship between Islamic fundamentalism and the political participation of women. Firstly, it is discussed at length which political role women play in theories on Islamic fundamentalism. According to some scholars, it is indeed paramount to eliminate where possible, existing stereotypes which state that women are solely ‘placed’ in the private domain by fundamentalists. Secondly, the article examines the extent of actual political participation in a context of Islamic fundamentalism, more specifically the Islamic Republic of Iran. Models of political participation are often implicitly based on formal (electoral) forms of participation. However, women often remain invisible in these kinds of models. Consequently, the article centres on a possible broadening of the notion ‘political participation’ and the incorporation of new forms of informal political activities in the analysis of political participation.


Silvia Erzeel
Wetenschappelijk medewerkster aan de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
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