Ratchets and See-Saws: divergent institutional patterns in women’s political representation

Scherpereel, John A. and Adams, Melinda and Jacob, Suraj (2018) Ratchets and See-Saws: divergent institutional patterns in women’s political representation. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 4. pp. 1-13. ISSN 23780231

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Abstract

Women’s representation in legislative and executive offices has increased in recent decades. We show, though, that while global legislative and executive trend lines have positive slopes, the two institutions experience distinctive temporal dynamics. When levels of women’s legislative representation rise, they tend not to slip back beyond their newly achieved level—women’s legislative representation tends to be characterized by a ratchet effect. This effect is relatively rare in cabinets, where increases in women’s representation are often followed by decreases. We call the latter phenomenon the see-saw effect: Countries experience one or more steps back for every step forward. These differences have normative and analytical implications. Normatively, we suggest that cabinet see-sawing is particularly problematic when domestic power balances are weighted toward executives. Analytically, we encourage researchers to use indicators of women’s empowerment that account for time and inter-institutional balances and identify factors that affect cross-country variation in temporal trends.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Scherpereel, John A. and Adams, Melinda and Jacob, Suraj
Document Language:
Language
English
Uncontrolled Keywords: Executive politics, Gender and politics, Legislative politics, Women’s political empowerment
Subjects: Social sciences > Political Science > Relation of state to organized groups
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Development
Full Text Status: Public
URI: http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/id/eprint/3248
Publisher URL:

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