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(Re)presenting Women: Retooling Women’s Substantive Representation
Unformatted Document Text:  Christina Xydias p.22 concepts, i.e., in more advanced industrial societies. 29 In very traditional societies, it would be impossible to explain varying degrees of women’s substantive representation with a theory of gender roles, because attitudes towards these roles are effectively not variable. Second, I argue that these hypotheses also rely upon whether legislators believe that the state has a responsibility to intervene in society in the first place. Not all ideologies invite or accept an obligation to address gendered experiences with the law and public policy, and an interest in addressing these experiences is predicated upon support of state interventionism. Support of state interventionism will relate strongly to a legislator’s political ideology, i.e., party affiliation. For the purposes of this project, parties’ positions on state interventionism will be derived from the Comparative Manifesto Project. 30 Necessary condition: Positive attitude towards state interventionism If a legislator believes that the state may (or has an obligation to) take a high level of involvement in society, she or he has the potential to represent women’s interests to a high degree. The “necessary condition” that I propose here requires further justification. Some gendered issues are medical, for example, and it could be argued that many legislators pay attention to these issues whether or not they believe that states ought to intervene in society. For instance, even legislators who do not believe in state interventionism may advocate for higher levels of funding for breast cancer research. However, I argue that this kind of substantive representation (namely, advocacy of funding medical research for diseases or conditions that predominantly affect women) will happen less frequently than representation of interests that are defined in social (as opposed to medical) terms. Indeed, according to the argument that I will outline below, legislative support for breast cancer research is more likely to be advocated in terms of social justice, though it may also be advocated in strictly medical terms. 31 Thus, given this necessary condition, I posit four hypotheses based on different understandings of the origins of gendered roles and behavior in order to explain which women’s interests a legislator will represent. 32 (See Table 1. below for an illustration of these hypotheses.) In this discussion, I distinguish further between two types of feminism: equality and difference. 29 See Inglehart and Norris (2003) for a discussion of how gender roles and attitudes towards women’s rights vary cross-nationally. 30 The CMP includes a series of variables that describe parties’ orientation towards social justice, the state’s responsibility to intervene in the economy, the state’s responsibility to intervene in society, etc. 31 See Tolleson-Rinehart (2005) for a discussion of breast cancer advocacy. Tolleson-Rinehart argues that attention to medical conditions and diseases must be publicized before they will receive political attention. 32 Please see my earlier discussion of determinism, constructionism, and deconstructionism.

Authors: Xydias, Christina.
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Christina Xydias
p.22
concepts, i.e., in more advanced industrial societies.
29
In very traditional societies, it
would be impossible to explain varying degrees of women’s substantive representation
with a theory of gender roles, because attitudes towards these roles are effectively not
variable.
Second, I argue that these hypotheses also rely upon whether legislators believe
that the state has a responsibility to intervene in society in the first place. Not all
ideologies invite or accept an obligation to address gendered experiences with the law
and public policy, and an interest in addressing these experiences is predicated upon
support of state interventionism. Support of state interventionism will relate strongly to a
legislator’s political ideology, i.e., party affiliation. For the purposes of this project,
parties’ positions on state interventionism will be derived from the Comparative
Manifesto Project.
30
Necessary condition: Positive attitude towards state interventionism
If a legislator believes that the state may (or has an obligation to) take a high level
of involvement in society, she or he has the potential to represent women’s
interests to a high degree.

The “necessary condition” that I propose here requires further justification. Some
gendered issues are medical, for example, and it could be argued that many legislators
pay attention to these issues whether or not they believe that states ought to intervene in
society. For instance, even legislators who do not believe in state interventionism may
advocate for higher levels of funding for breast cancer research. However, I argue that
this kind of substantive representation (namely, advocacy of funding medical research for
diseases or conditions that predominantly affect women) will happen less frequently than
representation of interests that are defined in social (as opposed to medical) terms.
Indeed, according to the argument that I will outline below, legislative support for breast
cancer research is more likely to be advocated in terms of social justice, though it may
also be advocated in strictly medical terms.
31
Thus, given this necessary condition, I posit four hypotheses based on different
understandings of the origins of gendered roles and behavior in order to explain which
women’s interests a legislator will represent.
32
(See Table 1. below for an illustration of
these hypotheses.) In this discussion, I distinguish further between two types of
feminism: equality and difference.


29
See Inglehart and Norris (2003) for a discussion of how gender roles and attitudes towards
women’s rights vary cross-nationally.
30
The CMP includes a series of variables that describe parties’ orientation towards social justice,
the state’s responsibility to intervene in the economy, the state’s responsibility to intervene in
society, etc.
31
See Tolleson-Rinehart (2005) for a discussion of breast cancer advocacy. Tolleson-Rinehart
argues that attention to medical conditions and diseases must be publicized before they will
receive political attention.
32
Please see my earlier discussion of determinism, constructionism, and deconstructionism.


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