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Gender (im)Balances in Local Politics in Norway: Hindrances to Leadership
Unformatted Document Text:  integration into the system is a zero-sum game: some have to loose. After all, we are talking redistribution! Concluding remarks on contextual analysesIt is important to be aware of the explanatory value of political and structural characteristics of municipalities for power distributions. The “distance” between contextual features on one hand, and the opportunity structures “down the road”, strategies and decisions made in parties’ committees, among voters, in negotiating boards and in individual politicians and would-be politicians at the other is large. Add to that the many other factors that will play a part and contribute to the final outcome of fair or unfair gender power distributions. In the next set of data, we have left “the large scene”, and focus on the smaller stages, the parties recruiting and nominating candidates to the local election of 2007, stages with different opportunity structures in which actors operate and make their choices. II Parties as opportunity structures for a gender fair power balance? IntroductionThe second approach to understand the mechanism at work in the mobilization and integration processes, and the persistent differences in female/male ratios in gender balance and gender power balance, is to analyse opportunity structures in the processes and in agencies mobilizing and recruiting candidates; the local parties. We choose six municipalities to follow the processes; two urban and one more agrarian in the south of Norway, and three peripheral and agrarian municipalities in north-Gudbrandsdal, one of which is a small city with lumber industry. In order to come closer to the stage, the actors and the scenes (i.e. opportunity structures and barriers, the norms, attitudes values and party priorities), we followed 31 local parties in our six municipalities from start to finish: from setting up provisory election lists to finally constituting mayor, deputy mayor, executive council committee members, leaders of the party group, leaders of central committees and leaders of some other imperative committees. We described three main processes (figure 1) and considered the institutional frames that either provide windows of opportunity or rather close of access. 17 of 29

Authors: van der Ros, Janneke.
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background image
integration into the system is a zero-sum game: some have to loose. After all, we are talking
redistribution!
Concluding remarks on contextual analyses
It is important to be aware of the explanatory value of political and structural characteristics
of municipalities for power distributions. The “distance” between contextual features on one
hand, and the opportunity structures “down the road”, strategies and decisions made in
parties’ committees, among voters, in negotiating boards and in individual politicians and
would-be politicians at the other is large. Add to that the many other factors that will play a
part and contribute to the final outcome of fair or unfair gender power distributions. In the
next set of data, we have left “the large scene”, and focus on the smaller stages, the parties
recruiting and nominating candidates to the local election of 2007, stages with different
opportunity structures in which actors operate and make their choices.
II
Parties as opportunity structures for a gender fair power balance?
Introduction
The second approach to understand the mechanism at work in the mobilization and integration
processes, and the persistent differences in female/male ratios in gender balance and gender
power balance, is to analyse opportunity structures in the processes and in agencies
mobilizing and recruiting candidates; the local parties. We choose six municipalities to follow
the processes; two urban and one more agrarian in the south of Norway, and three peripheral
and agrarian municipalities in north-Gudbrandsdal, one of which is a small city with lumber
industry. In order to come closer to the stage, the actors and the scenes (i.e. opportunity
structures and barriers, the norms, attitudes values and party priorities), we followed 31 local
parties in our six municipalities from start to finish: from setting up provisory election lists to
finally constituting mayor, deputy mayor, executive council committee members, leaders of
the party group, leaders of central committees and leaders of some other imperative
committees. We described three main processes (figure 1) and considered the institutional
frames that either provide windows of opportunity or rather close of access.
17 of 29


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