N21 - Reimagining Political Behaviour and Representation
Date: Jun 6 | Time: 03:15pm to 04:45pm | Location: SWING 410
Chair/Président/Présidente : Alana Cattapan (University of Saskatchewan)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jane Arscott (Athabasca University)
Women, National Identity, and Feminism: The case of Québec: Brenda O'Neill (University of Calgary), Katrine Beauregard (The Australian National University), Elisabeth Gidengil (McGill University) Abstract: Independence movements exist at the sub-national level in democracies such as Belgium, Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom. A common finding of research on these movements is a gender gap in support, with women less likely than men to support independence. In some cases, the independence movement has tried to rectify this situation by adopting a strong commitment toward gender equality policies and by aligning with the women’s movement in an effort to attract women’s support. Less is known, however, about whether this strategy is successful. In this paper, we investigate the link between support for independence and conceptions of feminism and women's equality across women in the province of Québec in Canada. We posit that older generations of women may conceive of feminism in terms of strict equality between women and men, which can easily align with a national identity based on the French language. On the other hand, younger feminists may have a more intersectional view of equality, adding a focus on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation to gender, which may sit less comfortably with a traditional definition of the francophone Québec identity. Consequently, we expect that the success of the independence movement’s strategy of appealing to gender equality to attract women’s support will vary across feminist generation. While we find support for the hypothesis linking feminist identity to support for the independence movement, this link does not appear to vary with feminist generation.
Is Retrospective Voting Gendered? Evidence From a Conjoint Experiment in the US and Australia: Roosmarijn de Geus (University of Toronto), John McAndrews (University of Toronto), Peter Loewen (University of Toronto) Abstract: We explore whether retrospective voting is gendered, both in terms of job approval and character evaluations. This is important because the current literature on retrospective voting focuses almost exclusively on evaluations of male incumbents. And although much is known about gender bias toward female candidates, comparatively little is known about gender bias toward women politicians once they have obtained office. In this paper we thus explore retrospective performance voting toward female political executives. Our study provides evidence from an online conjoint experiment that we conducted in the United States and Australia. We find no evidence of gender bias in Australia, but find some evidence of gender-related differences in performance voting in the United States. Yet, perhaps contrary to expectation, we find that female incumbents who perform poorly are punished less severely when compared to their male counterparts. The paper contributes to our understanding of the role of incumbent gender in retrospective voting and sheds light on voters' evaluations of women in executive office.
Gender Conformity and Recognition: Self-Perceptions, Peer-Perceptions, and Political Attitudes: Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (Queen's University), Amanda Bittner (Memorial University of Newfoundland) Abstract: Scholars have increasingly tried to distinguish sex from gender in analyses of political attitudes and voting behavior (Bittner & Goodyear-Grant 2017a, Bittner & Goodyear-Grant 2017b, Westbrook & Saperstein, 2015). While the relationship between self-reported gender and political attitudes is starting to be better understood, the way individuals “perform” gender (Butler 1988), how they think they are perceived by others, and the impact this might have on attitudes is less understood. Does the extent to which people conform to gendered expectations held by others have an influence on political attitudes? Do our assessments of how our gender is “read” by others affect our attitudes? These are natural questions given that political behaviour is embedded in social contexts in which group perceptions affect individual behaviour.
In this paper, we seek to better understand the relationship between gender self-perceptions and peer-perceptions, and the patterns of perceived conformity in society. Using a novel set of survey questions, we examine a) the relationship between self and perceptions of peer placement; b) the factors that explain who feels “misplaced” by others; and c) the impact that non-conformity between self- and peer-placement may have on political attitudes. We find that non-conformity does indeed affect political attitudes, and that those individuals whose gender is likely to be misidentified hold the most progressive or left-leaning attitudes on a number of political issues.
Male domination and power-sharing in the Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese parliaments; Divergent political pathways for women in three MMM systems: Dr. Jackie F. Steele (Nagoya University, Japan), Jinock Lee (Sogang University, Korea), Chang-Ling Huang (Taiwan National University) Abstract: Despite shared socio-cultural norms and lower status of women amidst a similar mixed-member majoritarian electoral system, women’s political representation in the East Asian democracies of Japan, Korea and Taiwan varies widely. Using a reserved seat system, Taiwan is by far the most advanced in achieving the substantive inclusion of women in democratic decision-making, with a national legislature boasting 38% women. Implementing a gender parity quota for only the PR portion of seats, Korea has largely stagnated at just under 20% women. The black sheep within the G-7 and all of Asia, the Japanese Lower House cannot seem to elect more than a mere 10% women despite the loud Abenomics rhetoric of making women in Japan “shine.” Previous studies have examined formal institutions and electoral systems to explain the divergent gaps in women’s representation, but these three same systems generate astonishingly different results and have done so over many years.
In 2015, gender and politics scholars in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan created a collaborative research network to probe the contradictions and divergent pathways to power for women in East Asia. Entitled “Women and Diversity in East Asian Political Representation” (WondeR), collaborators implemented a three-country written survey to parliamentarians. Bringing together the insights of this network and taking a feminist institutionalist look at the evolution and interactions among key formal and informal institutions, this paper fleshes out the convergence and divergence in women’s political representation in three mixed-member majoritarian system that have used gender quotas to varying degrees of success.