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Gender (im)Balances in Local Politics in Norway: Hindrances to Leadership
Unformatted Document Text:  Of course we find variations among the 431 municipalities with regard male dominance in the distribution of power. Following Rokkan’s focus on contextual factors in his explanatory model, as well as our own earlier studies (Van der Ros 1981, Halsaa & Van der Ros 1989) with regard to explaining variations in gender balance in political representation, we undertook multivariate analyses introducing features at the local level assumed relevant for explaining male/female biases in political praxis. In order to provide a solid base for a fair distribution of power positions, there need be a fair representation balance, i.e. sufficient numbers women and men councillors to choose from. For most power positions, municipalities’ regulations claim council membership. As the figure below shows: this was not necessarily the case in all municipalities: Figure 5-a: Proportions of women as council members in all municipalities, 2003-2007 Percentages The ratio female/male varies between 16/84 and 60/40. On average the ratio is 36/64. In one out of three councils we find the so-called ideal 40/60 ratio. Not one municipality has a majority of women surpassing the magic 60 %, while two out of three councils have male dominance over 60 %. A similar illustration for the distribution of gender power gives the following picture: Figure 5-b: Proportions of women in local power positions in all municipalities, 2003-2007 Percentages On average the female/male ratio for the distribution of gender power is 27/73. Again, we find large variations among municipalities: from a 0/100 ratio in nine municipalities in our data, to one municipality where women hold 64 % of power positions. One fifth (20%) of the municipalities in our data has the 40/60 ratio, in three of these the 40/60 is in women’s favour (i.e. 60% women). In all other the 60 % goes to male members. A comparison of the two distributions show that the gender balance (i.e. distribution of representative positions) is less biased than the gender power balance (the distribution of the five mentioned power positions). How come? What can be explanatory factors for this decline, for these distributive patterns? We focus on four key factors: a political supply aspect, an ideological feature, geography -following Rokkan (1987) interpreted as some sort of cultural characteristic-, and finally a socio-economic structure attribute. 14 of 29

Authors: van der Ros, Janneke.
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Of course we find variations among the 431 municipalities with regard male dominance in the
distribution of power. Following Rokkan’s focus on contextual factors in his explanatory
model, as well as our own earlier studies (Van der Ros 1981, Halsaa & Van der Ros 1989)
with regard to explaining variations in gender balance in political representation, we
undertook multivariate analyses introducing features at the local level assumed relevant for
explaining male/female biases in political praxis. In order to provide a solid base for a fair
distribution of power positions, there need be a fair representation balance, i.e. sufficient
numbers women and men councillors to choose from. For most power positions,
municipalities’ regulations claim council membership. As the figure below shows: this was
not necessarily the case in all municipalities:
Figure 5-a: Proportions of women as council members in all municipalities, 2003-2007
Percentages
The ratio female/male varies between 16/84
and 60/40. On average the ratio is 36/64. In
one out of three councils we find the so-
called ideal 40/60 ratio. Not one
municipality has a majority of women
surpassing the magic 60 %, while two out of
three councils have male dominance over 60
%.
A similar illustration for the distribution of gender power gives the following picture:
Figure 5-b: Proportions of women in local power positions in all municipalities, 2003-2007
Percentages
On average the female/male ratio for the
distribution of gender power is 27/73.
Again, we find large variations among
municipalities: from a 0/100 ratio in nine
municipalities in our data, to one
municipality where women hold 64 % of
power positions. One fifth (20%) of the
municipalities in our data has the 40/60
ratio, in three of these the 40/60 is in
women’s favour (i.e. 60% women). In all
other the 60 % goes to male members.
A comparison of the two distributions show that the gender balance (i.e. distribution of
representative positions) is less biased than the gender power balance (the distribution of the
five mentioned power positions). How come? What can be explanatory factors for this
decline, for these distributive patterns? We focus on four key factors: a political supply
aspect, an ideological feature, geography -following Rokkan (1987) interpreted as some sort
of cultural characteristic-, and finally a socio-economic structure attribute.
14 of 29


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