Women in Electoral Politics. Does Development Matter?

Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2017

225 Pages, Grade: PhD


Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgement

Table of Contents

List of Tables


Chapter 1 Women in Politics -An Introduction
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Importance of the Book
1.4 Methodological Issues
1.4.1 Unit of Comparison
1.4.2 Why Australia and Bangladesh?
1.4.3 Data Collection
1.4.4 Problems of Data Collection
1.5. Organization of the Book
1.6. References

Chapter 2 Women in Politics –Historical Overview
2.1. Introduction
2.2. History of Achieving Political Rights
2.3 Women as Head of State, Head of Government and Minister
2.4 Women in Local Government: Current Status
2.5 Conclusion
2.6 References

Chapter 3 The Theoretical Framework
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Defining the Key Terms
3.2.1 Politics
3.2.2 Political Participation
3.3 Modernization Theory
3.3.1 Controversy over Modernization Theory
3.4 Modernization Theory: A Revised Version
3.4.1 The Two Value Dimensions
3.4.2 Types of Societies
3.5 Modernization and Women
3.6 Inglehart on Modernization and Gender Equality
3.7 Criticisms of Inglehart
3.8 Position of Australia and Bangladesh according to the World Value Survey (WVS) and Inglehart
3.8.1 Value Set on Gender Equality: Australia and Bangladesh
3.9 Conclusion
3.10 References

Chapter 4 Political Participation of Women in Australia
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Political System in Australia
4.3 International and National Strategies to Promote Gender Equality
4.4 Current Status of Women in Australia
4.5 Political Participation of Women in Federal Parliaments
4.5.1 Extension of Political Rights to Women
4.5.2 Women’s Participation as Candidates in Federal Parliament
4.5.3 Women’s Participation as Elected Representatives at Federal Parliament
4.5.4 Women as Candidates and Elected Representatives at State Parliament
4.5.5 The Role of Political Parties
4.5.6 Women in Political Leadership Positions
4.6 Women in Local Government
4.7 Conclusion
4.8 References

Chapter 5 Political Participation of Women in Bangladesh
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Political System in Bangladesh
5.3 International and National Strategies to Promote Gender Equality
5.4 Current Status of Women in Bangladesh
5.5 Women’s Participation in Bangladesh Parliament
5.5.1 Extension of Political Rights to Women
5.5.2 Women’s Participation as Candidates in National Parliament
5.5.3 Women’s Participation as Elected Representatives in National Parliament
5.5.4 The Role of Political Parties
5.5.5 Women in Political Leadership Positions
5.6 Women in Local Government
5.7 Conclusion
5.8 References

Chapter 6 Socio-Economic and Political Backgrounds of the Participants
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Socio-Economic Background Information of the Women Participants
6.2.1 Age of the Women Participants
6.2.2 Education of the Women Participants
6.2.3 Marital Status of the Women Participants
6.2.4 Number of Children with Age of the Women Participants
6.2.5 Occupation of the Women Participants before becoming Elected Representatives
6.3 Political Backgrounds of the Women Participants
6.3.1 Reasons of the Women Participants for Entering Politics
6.3.2 Involvement of Family Members in Politics
6.3.3 Type of Seats Contested
6.3.4 Length of Experience as Elected Representatives
6.3.5 Position in the Political Party Occupied by the Women Participants
6.3.6 Future Political Ambition of the Women Participants
6.4 Conclusion
6.5 References

Chapter 7 Barriers to the Political Participation of Women
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Socio-Economic Barriers
7.2.1 Family Responsibility
7.2.2 Lack of Education
7.2.3 Lack of Finance
7.2.4 Violence, Harassment, Safety and Security
7.3 Political and Institutional Barriers
7.3.1 The Nature of Politics
7.3.2 Role of Political Party
7.3.3 Lack of Quota in the Legislature and Political Party
7.4 Socio-Cultural and Ideological Barriers
7.4.1 Traditional Gender Roles
7.4.2 Socialization
7.4.3 Self-Confidence
7.4.4 The Role of the Mass Media
7.5 Conclusion
7.8 References

Chapter 8 Exploring the Reasons for Resemblances -Is it Patriarchy?
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Defining Patriarchy
8.3 Is Australia a Patriarchal Society?
8.4 Is Bangladesh a Patriarchal Society?
8.5 Summary
8.6 Conclusion
8.7 References

Chapter 9 Conclusion and Recommendations
9.1 Introduction
9.2 The Effect of Modernization
9.3 The Hidden Force
9.4 Recommendations
9.5 Concluding Remarks
9.6 References


Preface and Acknowledgement

Women are now participating in all sectors of politics. However, globally they are marginal in politics as candidates, elected representatives, ministers, the prime minister, political leaders, mayors and so on, regardless of the level of socio-economic development within countries. There is no country either developed or developing that has ensured equal participation of women in politics.

Many proponents of modernization theory assert that economic growth leads inevitably to social development. Ronald Inglehart, Pippa Norris and Christian Welzel, in their revised modernization theory, claim that along with socio-economic development, modernization fosters cultural change that in the long run leads to greater gender equality in all sectors including politics. However, they have identified structural, institutional and cultural barriers to the political participation of women; cultural being the strongest force that sometimes resists gender equality despite economic development.

This book aims to analyze the issue of the underrepresentation of women in the national parliament and local government in Australia and Bangladesh. It claims that with few exceptions, women in Australia and Bangladesh have to overcome similar hurdles to their participation in elected office. The findings highlight the tremendous lag in a social change leading to gender equality. Furthermore, the similarity in issues facing women entering politics in both countries, despite tremendous cultural and socio-economic differences, indicates that the social barriers appear to relate to universal challenges to the participation of women in politics, more specifically to patriarchal structures and values associated with electoral politics. However, the barriers tend to be exacerbated by a lack of modernization and various cultural tendencies, thereby providing partial support for the revised modernization theory.

First and foremost, I express my deep sense of gratitude and profound appreciation to my principal supervisor Dr. Jeremy Northcote, to whom I am highly indebted for the manifold ways he assisted me. My deepest thanks go to the female politicians both in Australia and Bangladesh who agreed to be a part of this study despite their busy schedules. Without their input, this research

certainly would not have been a reality.

Family members have been next to me all through the journey. My parents and nephew were very supportive. I am thankful to my nephew Amit for accompanying me during my field visit to Bangladesh. At that time the political situation was very unstable; clashes and violence were very common every day. In this climate, traveling between places was especially risky and Amit was there all the time sacrificing his study and work to ensure my safety. My daughter Proma was deprived a lot due to my busy schedule but never complained. On the contrary, she encouraged me to complete the work in time. Finally, I am indebted deeply to my husband, Md Mostafizur Rahman Khan. He has been there for me at all times, encouraging me when I have felt tired or down.

Fardaus Ara June 2021

List of Tables

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Chapter 1

Women in Politics -An Introduction

"You agree, then . . . that men and women are to have a common way of life . . . common education, common children; and they are to watch over the citizens in common whether abiding in the city or going out to war?

The Republic, Plato (428-348 BC)

1.1 Introduction

As society transitions from rural to industrial to postindustrial, modernization theories propose that all individuals, including women, benefit from socioeconomic progress. Furthermore, Inglehart contends in his revised modernization theory that modernization results in greater gender equality in politics through bringing socioeconomic and cultural transformation. As a result, the bigger the percentage of women in politics, the better developed the country. Global gender statistics, on the other hand, contradict this assertion. Women are marginalized in politics around the world, regardless of their country's level of socioeconomic development.

Women account for little more than half of the world's population. Their participation in official political organizations and procedures is modest, despite their significant contributions to society's social and economic advancement (Bari, 2005). As of 1 January 2021, women account for 25.5% of seats in national legislatures (Inter-Parliamentary Union [IPU], 2021). There is no developed or developing country where women are represented in politics in proportion to their numbers. The world's most powerful economy, the United States of America (USA), has just had its first female presidential candidate in its 240-year history. However, for the first time, a female vice president was elected in January 2021. This is also a country that has, since its independence, emphasized the liberty of all citizens.

Because it is closest to the people, local government is an important component of national government. Many people use it as a stepping stone to higher-level political positions. Men and women who succeed in local government become a significant component of the pool of candidates who will serve as state and federal leaders in the future, according to research (Tobin, 2016). However, just like national governments, local

governments around the world have a low female representation (United Cities and Local Governments [UCLG], 2015).

This book focuses on the barriers to women’s participation in formal representational politics in the context of processes of modernization. More specifically, the book investigates whether women face identical barriers at national and local government in Australia and Bangladesh on a comparative basis. While it is important to avoid making direct comparisons due to the socio-cultural differences between Australia and Bangladesh, how each country has approached (or not approached) the same basic issue, the socio-cultural constraints on women's political participation, will provide important case material for a critical examination of the assumptions surrounding modernization in the context of international development. The main question is: do the process of modernization and its socio-economic factors help to increase gender equality in politics? More specifically, the study tries to address the following questions:

1. What is the status of women as elected representatives in the national parliament and local government in Australia and Bangladesh? Is there any difference between the elected women representatives in the two countries regarding their political participation?
2. Do the socio-economic and political backgrounds of women in formal political positions in the two nations differ? If so, how do the differences influence their participation as elected representatives?
3. What are the barriers to the political participation of women in the two countries? Are there any similarities or differences between the two societies regarding the obstacles?
4. Is there any common force (such as patriarchy) that transcends national boundaries and impedes participation of women in politics irrespective of their countries’ level of modernization?

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Women's equal participation in political life is commonly regarded to be vital for the overall process of women's advancement (Bari, 2005). Over the years, the United Nations (UN) has launched a number of initiatives and programs to increase women's political participation around the world. The principle of gender equality was enshrined in the United Nations

Charter (1945) and subsequently in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). However, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Women (1953) was the first international law to recognize women's equality in the enjoyment and exercise of political rights. Moreover, the United Nations Decade for Women (1975-1985) paved the way for women to be included in development initiatives, resulting in the foundation of thousands of women's organizations and their networking globally (Inglehart & Norris, 2003). Also worthy of mention are the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW] (1979), many global conferences including the Vienna World Conference (1993) that proclaimed women rights as human rights, the 1985 Nairobi Conference for Women, the Cairo Conference on Population and Development (1994), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), UN World Conferences for Women (1975, 1980, 1985, 1995, 2005, & 2010), and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, underlined the importance of increasing the number of women in positions of power and influence, not only because their perspectives and talents are needed, but also as a fundamental tenet of equality and human rights. They adopted a platform aimed at promoting and protecting all women's human rights and fundamental freedoms (United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women [UNDAW], 2005).

The presence of women in politics has a beneficial impact on symbolic connotations, policy ramifications, and mobilization outcomes, according to a large body of literature on women and representation in the United States (Beckwith, 2007). Phillips (1991) also believes that boosting women's political participation is critical. She mentions three major points that justify the reasons for incorporating more women in politics. For starters, it is a matter of justice that women are not excluded from the most important political activity. The basis of this argument is that women account for more than half of the population and should thus be represented equally in elected bodies alongside males. Second, women bring to politics a unique set of ideals, experiences, and knowledge. Women contribute to a more caring and compassionate society through enriching political life (although the requirements to fit into a masculinized political culture can also undermine these distinctions). The third argument is that men and women have opposing opinions, and it is unreasonable to expect males to speak for women.

Women are still underrepresented in politics around the world twenty-five years after the 1995 World Conference on Women. They are still a long way from reaching equality, especially in politics, where many impediments to women participation in politics still remain. This is true whether the country is classified as "developed" or "developing." This raises questions about the supposed progress brought about by modernization, particularly regarding the view that modernity promotes gender equality.

According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (see Appendix), a country's level of economic development does not always guarantee a higher percentage of women in parliament. For example, Rwanda, one of the poorest countries on the planet, has the highest proportion of women in parliament, while countries like Canada, Singapore, and the United States have less than 30% women in lower house/parliamnet.

1.3 Importance of the Book

Although Australia (ranked 50) is ahead of Bangladesh (ranked 111) in terms of the proportion of women in the lower house of parliament (IPU, 2021), the differential is not as big as one might assume considering their development rankings. However, the way some nations (such as Rwanda and Bangladesh) use quota systems to reserve seats for women can distort the process of comparisons. On the other side, the ranking might be interpreted as a measure of countries' efforts to increase the ratio of female to male political representatives, with quotas indicating attempts to achieve more equality and those without quotas indicating a lack of urgency in achieving this goal.

Regardless of comparisons, a critical question is why do these inequities persist, with women accounting for less than 30% of seats in the lower house even in advanced industrialized countries like the United States and the United Kingdom? Why do women continue to face difficulties to their participation in representational politics notwithstanding the progress made in so-called developed countries (such as Australia) in terms of equal rights? What room is there for so-called developing countries (such as Bangladesh) to advance in women's political participation if, contrary to what some theorists continue to assert, economic modernization does not automatically result in the abolition of traditional roles that act as barriers to gender equality, particularly in patriarchal spheres like politics? Perhaps alternative strategies that aim to tackle gender issues in politics more directly need to be given greater support (both in developed and developing countries)?

Strengthening women's political engagement is now a catchphrase, and it necessitates a thorough examination – both qualitative and quantitative – of the causes and circumstances that encourage or restrict their participation in politics. It's worth noting that Inglehart measured women's political engagement in parliament using a quantitative survey method. This thesis aims to supplement his comparative statistics research program by delving deeper into the challenges faced by women politicians in engaging in political life while taking into account the specific socio-economic and cultural circumstances that frame gender disparity in different nations.

Irwin (2009) confessed that she undervalued the necessity of having a full understanding of the various cultural settings in the five nations she researched (49 participants from Australia, England, India, the Philippines, and Sweden) for her research on women's political participation. Furthermore, there is concern about sacrificing research depth while studying multiple countries. Limiting the study to two case studies will allow me to gain a more in-depth understanding of Australia and Bangladesh, allowing me to adequately conceptualize their cultural backgrounds. The study is unusual in that it uses a qualitative comparative method to identify impediments to female representation in politics that are common or different between industrialized and developing nations whilst being aware that generalizations based on two cases need to be somewhat cautious. Because quantitative methodological approaches to the study of women in politics have traditionally dominated the field (Childs, 2001; Lovenduski & Norris, 2003; Sawer, 2002), a qualitative methodological approach based on a comparative case study with in-depth interviews as the data collection method adds a new dimension to the global study of women and politics.

The decision to compare a developing country (Bangladesh) with a developed country (Australia) differs from past studies. The majority of previous research on gender inequalities in political involvement has focused on trends in Western industrialized democracies (namely the United States and Western Europe), raising concerns about the application of findings and clarification for gender variation in developing countries (Coffe & Bolzendahl, 2011). Furthermore, there is a scarcity of comparative studies across industrialized and developing nations to determine whether universal reasons are to blame for women's lack of political participation around the world.

Part of the reason that prior study may not have compared developing and developed countries on this topic is the assumption that the socioeconomic and cultural concerns that

divide the developing and developed worlds are too dissimilar to make any comparison valid. It is widely assumed that women in Western developed countries have the chance to enjoy and participate in a variety of activities in every sphere of life, while women in developing countries do not. Women in the advanced economies are seen to have comparatively better health, security, education, property, and employment opportunities compared with women in developing nations (Mahmood, 2010). There is a belief (which we might loosely label "postcolonial") that developing countries require the support of Western developed industrialized nations in order to reach the highest development goals (Biccum, 2002), including gender equality. When it comes to gender portrayals, the terms "underdeveloped" and "developing" conjure up images of "oppressed third-world women." Women in developing nations are thus portrayed as uninformed, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, religious, domesticated, family-oriented, and sexually limited; an identical “powerless” group built as implicit victims of specific cultural and socioeconomic systems (Mohanty, 1988).

Western women, on the other hand, are portrayed as educated, modern, and in charge of their bodies and sexualities, with the ability to make their own choices. Furthermore, individuals in developing countries are expected to have more traditional cultural values, face a variety of economic realities (for example, material demands may not be met), and live under a variety of political situations − for instance, more political corruption than citizens of developed countries. Thus, the factors influencing women’s parliamentary representation in industrial countries are assumed to be radically different from those in developing countries ( Stockemer , 2015), making any comparison between countries from opposite ends of the development spectrum seem fruitless.

Such assumptions risk the exaggeration of North/South or developed/developing world, distinctions based on perceived Western superiority (Said , 1978). Further, even if such differences were evident, then the question remains as to why they would make a comparative study problematic? Might not a study of such differences as they pertain to the underrepresentation of women in politics possibly provide important insights about the importance (or irrelevance) of such differences? In short, there is no logical reason why a comparison of developed and developing countries concerning the issue of women’s participation in politics would not lead to important insights about the factors contributing to it. This is particularly so given the situation where there does not appear to be marked differences in rates of women’s participation in politics between the developed and

developing “worlds,” thereby raising the question, how much are socio-economic differences between countries relevant to explaining rates of political participation by women?

1.4 Methodological Issues

Creswell (2014) states that qualitative research is suitable for exploring and understanding the meaning that individuals or groups ascribe to a social problem. It usually takes place in the natural setting (e.g., home, office) that enables the researcher to be highly involved in the actual experiences of the participants. Therefore, the book employs a qualitative methodological approach to understand the barriers to the political participation of women in the context of wider socio-economic, political, and cultural contexts that distinguish the two countries.

Besides, a case study approach is chosen to show the systematic relationship between socio-economic, cultural, and structural factors as Yin (2014) asserts that the case study allows researchers to retain the holistic and meaningful characteristics of real-life contemporary events and enable to gather an extensive and in-depth description of the social phenomenon by answering ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Ragin (1987) claims that case- oriented research engenders an extensive dialogue between the researcher’s ideas and the data. Each case is examined as a whole, as a total situation resulting from a combination of conditions, and cases are compared with each other as wholes. Thus, the different parts or conditions that make up a case are understood concerning each other. This makes it possible to address causal complexes-to examine the conjunctures in time and space that produce important social changes and other phenomena.

Political participation of women is a contemporary phenomenon and the researcher has no control over the events. The research aims to explore the status of women’s political representations in Australia and Bangladesh and find out the similarities and dissimilarities. So comparative case research is justifiable to answer how what, and why questions. Since each country’s historical, cultural, economic, and political situations differ; the chosen method ensures an examination of the relative social, economic, cultural, and political contexts surrounding women’s representation in politics in these two countries, which is important in determining the extent to which modernization is a factor shaping the barriers facing women.

1.4.1 Unit of Comparison

The study focuses on elected women representatives serving in the national parliament and local government in Australia and Bangladesh. It should be noted that Australia is comprised of three levels of government – national, state, and local – while Bangladesh is a country with two spheres of government: national and local. However, for the convenience of comparison among the elected women representatives in these two countries, because there is no equivalent level of government in Bangladesh, state- level women representatives in Australia are excluded from the interviews (although will be examined as part of the overview of the Australian political system).

It's worth noting that the local governments in Australia and Bangladesh are not completely comparable. For starters, there are disparities in legal bases. The Australian constitution does not recognize local government, hence it is under the sovereignty of six states and one territory. It is funded by both the federal and state governments, but there is no true devolution of power is seen at the local government. The central government assigns local government bodies with a wide range of powers to manage local affairs and efficient service delivery (Laquian, 2014). Local government, on the other hand, is incorporated in Bangladesh's constitution and receives funding from the federal government. Although Bangladesh has a nominally decentralized local government system, in practice it is dominated by a delegated system of elected local government with restricted powers and resources. Local governments have little operational autonomy and are not self-contained of the government or the overall administrative system of the country. The national government covers legal, operational, and financial matters as well as control and supervision of local government bodies. The territorial jurisdiction of local government, the functions it can perform, and the taxes it can impose, are all determined by central legislation (Siddiqui, 2005).

Despite these distinctions, both countries' local governments have similar tasks and functions. In Australia, councils are typically responsible for local infrastructure, health, water, and sewerage amenities, community services such as childcare, aged care, recreation, cultural, and educational institutions, and commercial establishments such as parking, aerodromes, and cemeteries, among other things . However, increasingly throughout Australia, local government is taking on greater responsibility for community services, cultural and economic development, and security (Commonwealth Local Government Forum

[CLGF], 2021a; Irwin, 2009). In Bangladesh, local government entities are responsible for civic and community welfare, as well as local development. Within their legal jurisdictions, they execute activities like as agriculture, health, education, infrastructure development, and so on. The extent and scope of these efforts, however, are limited (Islam, 2015). Thus, it is evident that in both countries, local government bodies usually share almost similar responsibilities relating to local services. This is significant for comparison because the position of local government members in terms of their careers, responsibilities, and status within constituencies is identical in both nations, in striking contrast to the status of national politicians. Furthermore, in Australia (particularly WA) and Bangladesh, local government elections are held using the first-past-the-post system. Furthermore, women in both countries are underrepresented in local government.

1.4.2 Why Australia and Bangladesh?

A question can emerge as to why Australia and Bangladesh were chosen as cases. Despite the fact that Australia and Bangladesh have vastly different socioeconomic and political situations, they are not completely dissimilar when it comes to women's participation in governance. Table 1.1 shows that Australia ranks 6 on the Human Development Index (HDI) while Bangladesh ranks 133 (United Nations Development Program [UNDP], 2020). Geographically, these two countries are diametrically opposed, with discrepancies in GDP, education, and socioeconomic conditions. Women in Bangladesh were awarded voting rights for the first time in 1935, while the country was still known as East Bengal, when Australia became the first country to allow women political rights (the right to vote and run for office). Bangladesh, on the other hand, became an independent country in 1971, and women have been able to vote and run in elections since then.

Table 1.1: Australia – Bangladesh at a Glance

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Note: Developed from Christensen (2014); UNDP (2020); WEF (2020) * ID refers to indirectly elected ; CIA (consulted 14 February 2021< https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/>); IPU (consulted 14 February 2021 <https://data.ipu.org/women-ranking?month=1&year=2021>).

In terms of women's underrepresentation in politics, however, there are parallels that do not reflect the gap in their socioeconomic advancement. Furthermore, Bangladesh outperforms Australia in one key parameter. Julia Gillard, Australia's first female Prime Minister, argues that her gender has presented her with a number of problems. Bangladesh, on the other hand, is a developing country has had a female head of state since 1991, with both major parties led by women who have alternated as Prime Minister during that time.

Bangladesh and Australia share very little in common: their histories, socioeconomic realities, and political environments are vastly different. In contrast to Australia's relatively secure political system, Bangladesh continues to suffer from political instability, war, and economic uncertainty (Kochanek, 1997). Bangladesh's overall development process is hampered by a lack of political consensus among the country's major political parties; the country is dominated by Islamic religious ideologies. Australia, on the other hand, is a mature and long-established post-industrialized democracy with Christianity as the state religion and a clear separation of the "Church" and "State." However, there are resemblances regarding the underrepresentation of women in politics, specifically concerning underrepresentation in leadership positions.

Table 1.2 indicates that over the years, the percentage of women in the lower house of Parliament in Australia and Bangladesh. The percentage of elected women councilors and

mayors in Australia comprise only around 32.2% and in Bangladesh women's share in local government is 25.2% (CLGF, a & b, 2021). In both countries, women fail to form a critical mass in national and local politics.

Table 1.2: Gender Gap Index in term of Political Empowerment of Women

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Note: Adapted from World Economic Forum [WEF] (2010, 2015 & 2020)

The status of women in national and local politics is not satisfactory. Despite political-legal reforms, many of the barriers to women playing a more prominent role in public decision-making and administration still exist.

1.4.3 Data Collection

This study uses both primary and secondary data. Primary data for the research has been collected through semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews. Secondary data for this research has been collected from published and or unpublished materials, books, journals, reports, newspapers, basic legal documents, and government policy papers relevant to the study and also from the Internet.

Due to time limitation and shortage of adequate financial resources 42 samples (22 participants from Australia and 20 participants from Bangladesh) were selected for interviews considering factors like age, political experience, party affiliation, and marital status. Besides, 10 interviews were conducted with male politicians (four in Australia and six in Bangladesh).

1.4.4 Problems of Data Collection

In Bangladesh, accessing female politicians was a difficult job. A few female members of the parliament are elected directly in the general constituencies. Unfortunately, no directly elected female MP agreed to be interviewed. However, two female local government representatives elected to the general constituencies agreed to take part in the interviews In Australia, it was difficult to arrange interviews with Liberal Party parliamentarians. Responses from the local government in Australia were also frustrating. Several women councilors agreed to be interviewed initially but later on declined. Some participants expressed their concern about disclosing their identities and requested to keep their identities secret, otherwise, their political careers might be affected. It seems that women politicians at local government in WA feel hesitant speaking out about their views and experiences with male colleagues for fear of a backlash from their colleagues.

1.5 Organization of the Book

This book examines the barriers to electoral politics that women encounter at the national parliament and local government in Australia and Bangladesh, particularly in light of the revised modernization theory of Inglehart. which predicts a higher rate of participation in politics based on socio-economic development. To explicate the situation of women’s political participation in the two countries, I have organized this book into nine chapters including this one.

Chapter two describes the history of women’s political participation; the state of women in national parliaments and local government; and current status of women as head of state and government across the world.

In chapter three I have defined the key concepts of the study. Additionally, the core concepts of modernization theory are outlined including the revised modernization theory of Inglehart et al. A particular focus is on the literature addressing the relationship between modernization and women.

The focus of chapter four is the political participation of women in Australia. This chapter describes, in brief, the history of achieving the political rights of women in the Commonwealth Parliament. Besides, this chapter outlines the international and national strategies adopted by the Australian government to promote gender equality in Australian

society generally, and also specifically the status of women in federal parliament as candidates, elected members, ministers, and the prime ministership. Additionally, I have discussed how the major Australian political parties deal with women’s issues in different ways. The status of women as mayors and elected councilors in Australian local government are also examined.

Chapter five follows a similar structure to chapter four, except for the fact that it focuses on the political participation of women in Bangladesh. I have outlined the history of attaining the political rights of women in Bangladesh. Additionally, this chapter highlights the international and national policies implemented by the Bangladesh Government for fostering gender parity and the status of women in Bangladeshi society. Moreover, I have discussed the situation of women in the national parliament as candidates, elected members, ministers, and the prime ministership. The role of political parties regarding women is examined in this chapter. Finally, the status of women as mayors and elected councilors in local government is examined.

In chapter six I have described the socio-economic and political background of the participants I have interviewed in Australia and Bangladesh. More specifically, their ages, marital status, number of children, educational and professional backgrounds, and previous political involvement are compared to examine if modernization does has any influence on the socio-economic status of the female representatives in general.

Chapter seven. presents substantive findings from the interview data. The focus is on the barriers to participation in the electoral office from the perspectives and experiences of the women participants. I have examined to what extent their participation is constrained by the culture, ideology, and institutional systems that are widely male-dominated in both countries. I have demonstrated that the barriers to the political participation of women at the national parliament and local government in Australia and Bangladesh are mostly identical except for a few variations due to differences in the social and cultural contexts of the two countries. Family responsibility, traditional gender roles, financial challenges, attitudes of society, and the aggressive nature of politics are identified to be the most common hindrances to women.

Chapter eight examines the common factors that are responsible for the similarities of the barriers despite differences in the level of modernization of the two countries. Here I have

identified why Australia and Bangladesh remain fundamentally patriarchal regarding relevant literature and information in light of the findings. I have found that patriarchy transcends all socio-economic boundaries and is still a major impediment to women’s advancement in politics in Australia and Bangladesh.

Chapter nine summarizes the findings in terms of their implications on Inglehart’s modernization theory. I have discussed the suggestions given by the participants to improve their participation in electoral politics, as well as other possible solutions. Finally, I have proposed areas for further research.

1.6 References

Bari, F. (2005). Women’s political participation: Issues and challenges. Paper presented at the expert group meeting on enhancing participation of women in development through an enabling environment for achieving gender equality and the advancement of women, Bangkok, Thailand. URL (Consulted 14 August 2008), from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/enabling-environment2005/docs/EGM- WPD-EE-2005-EP.12% 20%20draft%20F.pdf

Beckwith, K. (2007). Numbers and newness: The descriptive and substantive representation of women. Canadian Journal of Political Science/ Revue Canadienne De Science Politique, 40(1), 27-49. doi:10.1017/S0008423 907070059.

Biccum, A. R. (2002). Interrupting the discourse of development: On a collision course with postcolonial theory. Culture, Theory and Critique, 43(1), 33-50. doi:10.1080/14735780210162094.

Childs, S. (2001). In their own words: New Labour women and the substantive representation of women. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 3(2), 173-190. doi:10.1111/1467-856X.00056.

Christensen, M. I. (2014). Worldwide guide to women in leadership: Female ministers of Bangladesh. URL (Consulted 12 April 2016), from http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/Bangladesh.htm

Coffé, H., & Bolzendahl, C (2011). Gender gaps in political participation across Sub-Saharan African nations. Social Indicators Research, 102(2), 245-264. doi:10.1007/s11205- 010-9676-6.

Commonwealth Local Government Forum [CLGF]. (2021a). Country profile: Australia.

URL (Consulted 17 February 2021), from

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Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (Vol. 4). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Inglehart, R., & Norris, P. (2003). Rising tide: Gender equality and cultural change around the world. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Laquian, A. A. (2014). Asia Pacific. In United Cities and Local Governments (Ed.), Basic Services for All in an Urbanizing World (pp. 39-68). Routledge.

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Mahmood, Amna. (2010). Political empowerment of women: A comparative study of South Asian countries. Pakistan Vision, 10(1), 151-166. URL (Consulted 10 January 2012), from http://pu.edu.pk/images/journal/studies/ PDF-FILES/Artical%20-%209.pdf

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Chapter 2

Women in Politics –Historical Overview

2.1 Introduction

The main objective of this chapter is to discuss briefly the history of women’s achieving political rights globally. Additionally, this chapter focuses lights on the status of women in the power nad decision making position world wide,

2.2 History of Achieving Political Rights

Throughout history, there has never been a period or place where women enjoyed equal rights with men. In reality, women have been viewed as men's inferiors ever since ancient times - physically, morally, and mentally. In many parts of the world, women were been viewed as men's property, to be given over from fathers to spouses. Amid the beginning of the 15th century, women in Europe step by step started to enjoy a few rights and opportunities. Rights to education were permitted to girls and boys amid the Renaissance; nonetheless, women were encouraged to peruse the Bible and conduct religious services by the Protestants. Women were liable to men's control; substandard in the general public. The attitude of men towards females reflected in the remark where the Protestant Reformation pioneer Martin Luther clarified as ‘young girls start to talk and remain on their feet sooner than young boys because weed dependably grows up more rapidly than great harvests’. During the 17th century, few women had begun talking out for women’s' rights, especially for educational purposes. In the 18th century with the scholarly development known as the Enlightenment, several law-based thoughts, values, and concerns about individual rights began to thrive; and the seeds of women's liberation were sown (Neft & Levine, 1997).

The first thorough interest in women’s political rights was made amid the French Revolution and the first methodical treatise was Mary Wollstonecraft's 'Vindication of the Rights of Women' published in Britain in 1792. It claimed for increased educational opportunities for women as well as political equality with men. Step by step, women in a few nations began to unite to propel their concerns, i.e. issues such as educational opportunities, the right to work, and laws about divorce and child custody. Throughout the following two

centuries, women made tremendous strides toward equality with men. The single most important and most strenuous struggle during this period was the fight for women’s struggle, which started for the most part in Western Europe and spread, unexpectedly through colonization, round the globe (Neft & Levine, 1997; Randall, 1987).

In several countries, women attained the right to vote only after years of difficult struggle (Neft & Levine, 1997). A substantial feminist movement, however, first instigated in the United States where women involved in the movement to eliminate slavery, in the 1830s, drew inferences for their state. Three hundred women and men showed up in the famous convention of Seneca Falls, in 1848; the far-reaching Declaration of Sentiments and 12 resolutions including a promise to women’s suffrage was embraced (Randall, 1987). It took 72 years for American women to gain their constitutional right of suffrage in 1920 with the 19th Amendment (Kelber & Abzug, 1994).

In Britain, formal demand for woman’s suffrage was placed ahead in the House of Commons in 1867 when John Stuart Mill presented a restricted suffrage bill, backed by petitions with thousands of women’s signatures but could not succeed. Women started to organize for their suffrage rights more intensely and finally in 1928 all adult British women got the privilege to vote (Randall, 1987). In both the United States and Great Britain, and, besides, different nations, suffrage was won due to the work of multitudes of militant, well-organized, and dedicated women, some of whom sacrificed their health and even their lives for the struggle (Kelber & Abzug, 1994).

These endeavors were to reach completion in a kind of international snowball effect that commenced in the early 20th century. At the turn of the 20th century, New Zealand became the only country that had permitted women the equivalent voting rights with men in 1893. It took almost ten years for the next nation to take action accordingly; when in 1902 New Zealand’s neighbor, Australia granted women the right to vote and stand in federal elections, making Australia the first country where women had the right to vote and to stand for the national parliament, even though some states continued to ban them from voting in local and state elections. Finland (1906), Norway (1913), Denmark (1915), and a large group of other European nations followed with hardly a pause in between. In 1918 Canada turned into the first North American nation to extend the franchise to women (Neft & Levine, 1997).

In non-Western countries, Ecuador was the first South American nation to allow

female suffrage in 1928, and in 1931, Sri Lanka turned into the first Asian Country to do as such. The First African nation in this rundown was Senegal allowing the establishment right to ladies in 1945. Taking after World War II the procedure step by step quickened and today each woman on the planet has the privilege to vote (Neft & Levine, 1997). However, in several countries e.g. the Netherlands and Guyana women were allowed to hold a parliamentary or local political seat before they won the right to vote (Kelber & Abzug, 1994). In a few countries women were first allowed to vote in local elections, later on at the national level, e.g. in Chile, women could vote in municipal elections since 1931 whereas waited until 1949 to cast their votes in legislative and presidential elections (Neft & Levine, 1997).

Women in the Australian states of South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania were granted voting rights for local government in 1861, 1876, and 1884 respectively; however, women could not sit on municipal councils ( Oldfield, 1992; Sawer & Simms, 1993). In some countries, the right to vote was extended to women before they were permitted to run for political positions. However, in other countries, such as the Netherlands and Guyana, women were allowed to occupy a parliamentary or local constituency before they were allowed to exercise voting rights (Kelber & Abzug, 1994).

The right to vote was one thing, but the right for women to be voted into office was another. It is seen that even once women were granted the right to run for office, their election to office was not always immediate. Nineteen women were elected to the new 200- members Finnish parliament in 1907 (Korpela, 2006). Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916 (Smith, 2002) and Hattie Caraway was the first female elected to the US Senate in 1932 (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, 2016). The UK witnessed their first elected female Member of the Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons in 1918. Canada had her first woman in the House of Commons and Senate respectively in 1921 and 1930. Despite being one of the first countries to extend franchise rights to women, the Australian federal parliament witnessed the first female MP and Senator in 1943 (IPU, 1995).

Although women make up half or sometimes more than half of the voters in most countries, few women serve as heads of states; there is not a single country where women enjoy the equal political status, access, or power as men do (Neft & Levine, 1997). Women have crossed 50% of total seats in the lower house of the parliament only in Rwanda, Cuba, and United Arab Emirates. Only 25.5% of all national parliamentarians are women as of 1

January 2021. Thirty percent is widely considered as an important benchmark for women’s representation. As of 1 January 2021, 51 single or lower houses were composed of more than 30% women. Globally, there are 32 states as of 1 January 2021 in which women account for less than 10% of parliamentarians in single or lower houses including three chambers with no women at all (IPU, 2021). Wide variations continue in the average percentages of women parliamentarians in each region, across all chambers (single, lower and upper houses).

Table 2.1 indicates that it is very common to see women becoming an elected member in the parliament after several decades of granting them the right to stand for a seat in the parliament.

Table 2.1: Year Women first Got Right to Vote, Stand and Elected in Parliament

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Note: Developed from IPU, 1995; URL (Consulted 21 July 2017), from http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/parlinesearch.asp and http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/suffrage.htm

*Women were granted full franchise right in 1907 but on special conditions; private means, property and a good position and income were necessary for a woman to be elected a Member of Parliament

Table 2.2 demonstrates the status of women in world parliaments. It shows that women are lagging far behind men in both chambers of the parliament.

Table 2.2: Women in Parliaments: World Averages as of 1 January 2021

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Adopted from IPU. URL (Consulted 15 February 2021), from https://data.ipu.org/women-averages?month=1&year=2021

Besides, Table 2.3 shows the share of women in regional parliaments. It is seen that women are poorly represented in all regions except Nordic countries over the years.

Table 2.3: Women in Parliaments: Regional Averages as of 1 January 2021

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Adopted from IPU. URL (Consulted 15 February 2021), from https://data.ipu.org/women-averages?month=1&year=2021

2.3 Women as Head of State, Head of Government and Minister

A woman has occupied the highest position of executive power in only 58 countries since 1960 (O'Neill, 2021). However, 33 women have been directly elected to the top leadership position in their countries, rather than through the process of succession or appointment. Argentina's first female president, Isabel Perón, inherited the position, and India's first female Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was chosen by her party to fill a vacancy before being elected (Zhang & Roberson, 2016). Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, who led the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to victory in three elections, in 1960, 1970 and 1994, was the first democratically elected female Prime Minister. Sri Lanka is one of 13 countries with more than one woman in the top executive position i.e. both Prime Minister and President. Of those 13 countries, New Zealand and Finland are the only countries to witness three female leaders including the current Prime Ministers, Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin. Angela Merkel of

Germany (currently in her around 15 years and 10 months’ term), Dame Eugenia Charles of Dominica (about 15 years), and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (12 years and a few days) have served the longest consecutive terms. Besides, Indira Gandhi of India (16 years, 15 days) and the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina (almost 17 years in total) have served the longest non-consecutive terms (O'Neill, 2021). In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was elected the first female Prime Minister of a Muslim country in Pakistan (Neft & Levine, 1997). So it is evident that getting elected to the top position of the government is quite difficult for women.

As of 15 January 2021, just 21 countries have female Heads of State or Government, and 119 countries have never had a woman leader. At the current paced, it will take another 130 years to achieve equality in the highest positions of decision-making. Additionally, simply 10 countries have a woman Head of State, and 13 countries have a woman Head of Government. Furthermore, just 21% of ministers were women, with only 14 countries having 50% or more female minsters in cabinets. With an annual increase of simply 0.52% points, gender parity in ministerial positions is not likely to achieve before 2077. Moreover, women minister commonly held portfolios commonly known as less important like family and children; youth; social affairs; environment; natural resources; employment, and women affairs/gender equality (UN Women, 2021). Table 2.4 shows women leaders who are currently serving in top positions of government worldwide. It shows that women are marginal as head of states or government.

Table 2.4: Current Female Leaders

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Developed from Reuters, 2021; Christensen, 2016

2.4 Women in Local Government: Current Status

It is expected that entry into local government is easier for women than national government as rivalry is less fierce in local politics. Besides, local government is closer to ordinary women, it is simpler for them to care for their families and children while also participating in local politics. Because of their familiarity with their local community, women might also enjoy local politics to a greater extent. Furthermore, women frequently participate in local organizations that encourage them to participate in the formal political decision- making process at the local level (Evertzen, 2001).

Local governments are far from achieving gender equality in decision-making positions globally. Only 20% of the world's councilors are women, while female mayors

account for less than 5% of all mayors. Only ten of the world's 195 capital cities are led by women. There are just 29 female mayors of the 493 cities with populations greater than one million people; none of the 27 megacities with populations greater than some countries had a female mayor until 2015 (UCLG, 2015).

Except in the most advanced nations outside Europe, where women account for 14% of mayoral offices, the average percentage of female mayors is below 10%. In Eastern and Western Europe, women make up 10% of mayors on average. Only 9% of mayors in Sub- Saharan Africa were female. In Southeast Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, the rates range from 5% to 9% (UN, 2010, pp. 119-120). Tokyo, the world's most populous city, recently elected Yuriko Koike as its first female mayor (Soble, 2016).

Regionally the percentage of women councilors elected to local government ranged from a low of 8% in Northern Africa to a high of 30% in sub-Saharan Africa. The sub- regions in Latin America and the more industrial regions witnessed 24%-29% female councilors, while South-Eastern, Southern, and Western Asia all had less than 20% of women councilors in local government. Several countries have adopted constitutional or legislative gender quotas to ensure more equitable representation of women at the local government, (UN, 2010).

2.5 Conclusion

This chapter discusses the history of women’s political participation, their present share in world politics both at the national and local level and the position of women as head of government and state globally. Women’s share in world politics is far from satisfactory except in a few countries.

2.6 References

Christensen, M. I. (2016). Worldwide guide to women in leadership: Current woman leaders.

URL (Consulted 16 July 2016), from www.ipu.org/PDF/publications /women45-95_en.pdf

Evertzen, A. (2001). Gender and local governance. ULR (consulted 13 May 2013), from www.cities-localgovernments.org/uclg/upload/docs/genderandlocal governance.doc

History, Arts & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives (2016). Caraway, Hattie Wyatt. URL (Consulted 16 July 2016), from http://history.house.gov/ People/ Detail/44589

Inter-Parliamentary Union [IPU]. (1995). Women in parliaments 1945-1995: Wordwide statistical survey. URL (Consulted 16 June 2016), from www.ipu.org/PDF/publications /women45-95_en.pdf

Kelber, M., & Abzug, B. S. (1994). Women and government: New ways to political power.

Westport, Conn: Praeger.

Korpela, Salla. (2006). Finland’s parliament: Pioneer of gender equality. URL (Consulted 12 June 2014), from


Neft, N., & Levine, A. D. (1997). Where women stand: An international report on the status of women in over 140 countries, 1997-1998. New York: Random House.

Oldfield, A. (1992). Woman suffrage in Australia: A gift or a struggle? Cambridge [England]; Melbourne;: Cambridge University.

O'Neill, A. (2021, February 11). Number of countries with women in highest position of executive power 1960-2021. URL (consulted 17 February 2021), from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1058345/countries-with-women-highest-position- executive-power-since-1960/

Randall, V. (1987). Women and politics: An international perspective (Vol. 2). Basingstoke, Hants: Macmillan Education.

Reuters. (2021, January 26). Women leaders of the world. URl (consulted 17 February 2021), from

https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/women-leaders-of-the-world-idUSRTS3KJED Sawer, M., & Simms, M. (1993). A woman's place: Women and politics in Australia (2nd ed.).

North Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Smith, N. (2002). Jeannette Rankin: America’s conscience. URL (Consulted 16 June 2016), from http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Jeannette _Rankin.htm

Soble, J. (2016, July 31). Tokyo elects Yuriko Koike as its first female Governor. The New York Times. URL (consulted 5 September 2016), from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/world/asia/tokyo-elects-yuriko-koike-as-its-first- female-governor.html

United Cities and Local Governments [UCLG]. (2015). The equality agenda of united cities and local governments. URL(consulted 6 November 2015), from http://issuu.com/uclgcglu/docs/uclg-women-en?e=5168798/2752455

United Nations [UN]. (2010). The world's women 2010: Trends and statistics. New York: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division.

URL(consulted 31 May 2014), from http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/Worldswomen/WW_full%20report_ color.pdf

UN Women. (2021). Facts and figures: Women’s leadership and political participation.

URL(consulted 17 February 2021), from https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political- participation/facts-and-figures

Zhang, C., & Roberson, A. (2016). When the rest of the world elected women leaders. URL (consulted 6 September 2017), from http://www.latimes.com/ projects/la-fg-women-world-leaders/#decade60

Chapter 3

The Theoretical Framework

3.1 Introduction

Inglehart et al. contend that the main factor that influences women’s participation in politics is economic development, which in turn is linked to cultural modernization. The theoretical focus of this thesis is mainly centered on the relevance of modernization theory to explain global differences in women’s political participation. The particular version of modernization theory that is of most interest is that developed by Ronald Inglehart and his colleagues in a series of studies (Inglehart, Norris, & Welzel, 2002; Inglehart & Norris, 2003; Inglehart & Welzel, 2005).

This chapter examines the revised version of modernization theory developed by Inglehart et al., who argue that modernization has a positive impact on changing values in society and thus increases gender equality in politics. In addition to outlining the key characteristics of modernization theory as it relates to the study of women’s participation in politics, this chapter presents a brief description of the key terms. It also outlines some of the key criticisms of modernization theory and Inglehart’s research in particular. It is argued that Inglehart et al. are correct in that modernization brings positive changes in the lives of citizens, but at the same time, there are overarching issues that transcend the modernization process that undermine opportunities for women – in particular their participation in politics

– such that even women in developed countries still struggle.

3.2 Defining the Key Terms

3.2.1 Politics

The word "politics" comes from the ancient Greek term "polis," which means "city-state" a type of political society In ancient Greece (Heyking, 2008). Politics does not have a universal definition. Politics has been perceived in a variety of ways throughout history and throughout countries. Politics' nature and scope differ from one political academic to the next. Nonetheless, there are some common ideas about the conditions that lead to politics. Randall

(1987) recognizes politics as social, in that it has little significance for the lonely resident of a desert island. She also claims that politics emerges when resources are scarce and potential conflicts of interest or opinions exist about resource allocation. In a nutshell, she claims that politics is the process through which people influence resource allocation. However, Randall identifies two major and conflicting interpretations of the definition. One, the more conventional, views politics as an activity that involves conscious and deliberate participation to allocate resources among people. The alternative opinion tends to link politics with the articulation or working out of relationships in an already established “power structure.”

Easton (as cited in, Heywood, 1997/2002) defines politics as the authoritative distribution of values. To him, politics encompasses the numerous procedures that government adopts to respond to pressures from the wider society, specifically by distributing benefits, rewards, or penalties. By the term “authoritative values,” Easton refers to values that are usually accepted in society, and the masses consider them obligatory. However, Heywood finds this definition restrictive, limited to the type of politics practiced in cabinet rooms, legislative chambers, government departments, and so on. According to this definition, politics is particularly controlled and managed by a limited and exclusive group of people, particularly politicians, civil servants, and lobbyists excluding most people, institutions, and social activities as outsiders (Heywood, 1997/2002). Bernard Crick (1962/2013) describes politics as those activities by which competing interests are reconciled within a given unit of the law by giving them a share of power in proportion to their contribution to the betterment and survival of the entire society. To Adrian Leftwich (1984), Politics, whether formal or informal, public or private, is at the heart of all collective social interaction in all human communities, organizations, and cultures. Politics therefore takes place at each level of the social institution; within families and among small gatherings of companions, it can be found to the same extent as between national governments and on the world stage. Politics is the willingness, by any means, to obtain the desired outcome (Heywood, 1997/2002).

Heywood (1997/2002) concludes that Politics, in its broadest meaning, is the process by which individuals create, maintain, and alter (to the extent possible) the general principles under which they live. Politics can be defined as the sphere of government or "what concerns the state," as well as the conduct and management of public projects, the resolution of disagreements through debate and discussion, and the development, conveyance, and exploitation of resources throughout human history. Given these divergent perspectives on

politics, it can be seen as an activity that encompasses both people's engagement in public policies and the impact of policymaking on them.

3.2.2 Political Participation

Like politics, the definition of political participation also varies. Discussions on the types of political participation and the individuals who can practice power within them have a long historic trajectory, as far back as ancient Greek writers like Plato. From the earliest period of the 20th century, new types of political participation were recommended in parallel to the civil arguments on who can take part in politics (Labani, Kaehler, & Ruiz, 2009).

Conge (1988) explains political participation as an individual or aggregate activity at the national or local level that supports or resists state structures, authorities, and/or decisions concerning the distribution of public goods. Thus political participation is the individualistic or collective activity to allocate public resources. Parry, Moyser, and Day (1992) describe Political participation is defined as taking part in the formulation and implementation of public policies, as well as acts aimed at influencing policymakers' perspectives on issues that have yet to be determined, or activities aimed at contesting the conclusion of some choices. In this sense, political participation refers to participating in policy formulation and execution along with efforts to persuade the decision-making process or protest the consequence of a decision.

Verba, Schlozman, and Brady (1995) describe political participation as the activity aimed at influencing the government's decisions or actions. It could have an impact on how public policies are developed and implemented, as well as how those who make such policies are chosen. Therefore, political participation refers to the activity that influences government either directly or indirectly. To Conway (2000), political participation consists of people's actions that aim to influence the political structure, the selection of public institutions, or the policies of the government. These activities can have the objective of supporting the current structures of politics or altering them. They incorporate active and passive activities, group or individual, legitimate or illicit, supportive or coercive actions, by which one or a few people attempt to influence the type of government that may direct a society, the technique of leading the particular country, or specific government decisions affecting society or individuals (Labani et al., 2009). This definition gives the impression that political participation can take place in many forms ranging from voting or becoming an elected official, to voluntary activities like funding political parties and participating in social movements that center around activities, like public site occupations, boycotts, protests, blockades, property and individual violence, and organizing these activities, both by volunteers and professionals (Petrović, Stekelenburg, & Klandermans, n.d.).


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