Women, Gender, and Politics
Session: N6(b) - Gender and Parliament
Date: May 31, 2017 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: POD-372 (Podium Building)| iOS / Outlook
Chair/Présidente: Anne Dance (Parliamentary Internship Program)
Discussant/Commentatrice: Brenda O'Neill (University of Calgary)John McAndrews
(University of Toronto), Feodor Snagovsky
(The Australian National University), Paul Thomas
(Carleton University) : Citizens’ Attitudes Toward Legislator Independence: Experimental Evidence from CanadaAbstract:
Do citizens want their legislators to exercise greater independence? Studies suggest that citizens feel MPs are too likely to follow their party leaders at the expense of their constituents. We examine a logical, if extreme, extension of this attitude: do citizens reward MPs who dissent and defect from one party to another? Moreover, to the extent that defection challenges cultural stereotypes about how female politicians ought to conduct themselves, does public reaction depend on the defecting MP’s gender? In recent years, high profile and contentious instances of party-switching--by both male and female MPs--have attracted extensive media coverage in Canada. Yet to date, most research on the effect of party defection in parliamentary systems has rested on observational evidence of subsequent election results--an empirical strategy that is necessarily subject to the strategic calculations of incumbent legislators and broader political developments. In this paper, we overcome this problem with an online survey experiment involving 1500 Canadians. By manipulating the gender and actions of a fictionalized MP in an important parliamentary vote (i.e., remain loyal to party or defect), we assess what citizens infer about the MP’s motivations and, ultimately, whether citizens reward the defection. Furthermore, we examine how the potential treatment effects vary according to citizens’ partisanship, political efficacy, and policy attitudes. The results inform a broader discussion of the revealed preferences of citizens with respect to legislators and political parties.
(University of Waterloo) : Relying on Men: On Gender Quotas and Candidate Selection Processes in PakistanAbstract:
The Pakistani constitution, since 2002 provides for reserved seats for women in the national and provincial assemblies. These quotas have definitely carved out a space for women in Pakistani politics, but have not been particularly effective in creating more gender inclusivity in political decision-making. This paper examines the candidate selection practices across the main parliamentary parties in Pakistan to study the incentives of political actors (both political parties and female candidates) involved in the process of filling reserved seats for women in the legislative assemblies. Using data from the past three elections in 2002, 2008 and 2013, and a survey conducted in 2016 about the process of candidate selection, this paper demonstrate why quotas in Pakistan have not led to increased representation for women. In fact, quotas have reversed the incentive for women to participate in direct elections, encouraging them to instead depend on (predominantly male) party leadership to further their political careers by nominating them for reserved seats.
(The Australian National University), Matthew Kerby
(The Australian National University) : MP Staff and the Gendered Division of Political WorkAbstract:
While there is considerable research on elected legislators in Canada, the academic knowledge of their staff is very limited. This is a major gap in the scholarly understanding of the legislative process, since very few of the responsibilities we typically associate with Members of Parliament, such as writing speeches, Private Members’ Bills, reviewing committee documents and providing constituency services, are conducted by MPs themselves. Instead, these functions are carried out by political staff. Despite their prominence in popular culture and importance in the political process, political staff remain a crucial, yet under-studied area of Canadian politics. Furthermore, the little attention this area has received has been limited exclusively to ministerial exempt staff.
This study uses a mixed-methods approach that combines interview data and quantitative analysis of employment records and unique survey data from a large sample of MP staff in Ottawa. This study demonstrates that there is an unequal distribution of legislative work between male and female MP staff on Parliament Hill. While close to an equal number of men and women work for MPs in a political capacity in Ottawa, they do not share an equal proportion of their legislative work. Men continue to dominate legislative roles and women continue to dominate administrative roles in the House of Commons. This study contributes to the nascent field of political staff in Canada as well as the rich and compelling discussion of the role of gender in Canadian politics.