• Tracy-Ann Johnson-MyersEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Political Science book series (BRIEFSPOLITICAL)


Set in a politics of presence framework, this introductory chapter of the book highlights the importance of having women proportionally represented in politics. It develops the concepts of representation, in both its descriptive and substantive forms and highlights aspects of the extant literature which argue that it is important to have democratic legislatures that are reflective of the wider society. Arguments for the increased political representation of women are often based on the assumption that achieving a ‘politics of presence’ is essential for democracies, because ‘minority’ groups need people from within the group to speak on their behalf. Women’s descriptive representation in parliament is important, but it becomes purely symbolic if it does not bring about outcomes that reflect the interests of conventionally underrepresented groups. Thus efforts to attain a more proportional representation of women should ensure both quantity and quality—a linking of numerical representation to actions and outcomes.


Electoral System Policy Outcome Proportional Representation Descriptive Representation Political Representation 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

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