Emerging women leaders' views on political participation in Melanesia

Spark, C and Corbett, J 2018, 'Emerging women leaders' views on political participation in Melanesia', International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 221-235.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Emerging women leaders' views on political participation in Melanesia
Author(s) Spark, C
Corbett, J
Year 2018
Journal name International Feminist Journal of Politics
Volume number 20
Issue number 2
Start page 221
End page 235
Total pages 15
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Abstract Existing explanations for why women do not get elected to parliament in Melanesia emphasize structural barriers to participation, including prohibitive costs and patriarchal norms. They are largely silent, however, on why those women who do conform to the profile of the "archetypal candidate," and thus have the best chance of overcoming these barriers, choose not to run. Drawing on an extensive qualitative dataset, including forty in-depth interviews with emerging women leaders from three Melanesian countries, we find that many women are pessimistic about the way electoral politics are conducted. Echoing longstanding critiques of political practice, this cohort conceptualizes their political activity as being conducted in a parallel public sphere, in contexts in which they consider themselves more able to pursue programmatic reform. Rather than focusing on structural barriers, we explore their decision to eschew parliamentary elections as an act of resistance against politics as usual in Melanesia. This new material adds to the literature on why women chose to run "from" rather than "for" parliament and therefore has implications for scholars and practitioners interested in improving women's parliamentary representation across the globe.
Subject Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
Studies of Pacific Peoples' Societies
Social Change
Keyword(s) acceptable difference
archetypal candidates
Melanesia
Parliamentary representation
political leadership
DOI - identifier 10.1080/14616742.2016.1189680
Copyright notice © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN 1461-6742
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