Women’s Political Representation: Accounting for Gradualism
At its core, democratization involves the equitable representation of civic identities and interests. One important contribution of the gender and democratization literature has been a rethinking of how democracy is practiced—do elected officials fairly reflect the composition of society in terms of gender, class, and ethnicity? Have concepts of “the political” been broadened to incorporate everyday life and community politics? (e.g., Alvarez et al., 1998). During the struggles against authoritarian rule, a general optimism prevailed that democratization and women’s involvement in proreform social movements would contribute to a broader reconceptualization of politics and power relations (e.g., Radcliffe and Westwood, 1993). Post-transition, however, not only have women’s inroads into formal political institutions been less significant than hoped, but female representatives have often conformed to, rather than challenged, traditional gender stereotypes (Craske, 1999). Even in the case of successful entry into public office, feminists’ capacity to affect change has been hampered by weak institutional positioning and inadequate gender sensitivity on the part of male colleagues (Craske and Molyneux, 2002). Similarly, the everyday life issues they fought to have revalued by the political mainstream have often remained sidelined in the name of neoliberal economic imperatives (e.g., Schild, 1998; Montecinos, 1999).
KeywordsKorean Woman Political Opportunity Quota System Party Official Woman Candidate
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