‘First women ever in…’: Women in top positions and symbolic representation in national and subnational politics

Autor principal:
Raquel Pastor Yuste (Universidad de Cádiz)
Tania Verge Mestre (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Sesión 1
Día: miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015
Hora: 11:45 a 14:15
Lugar: Aula 8

Raquel Pastor Yuste & Tània Verge Mestre

Symbolic representation is the least examined of the various dimensions of political representation. Gender and politics scholars have only very recently started to make new inroads into the study of such dimension. While some authors have sought to empirically measure the impact that women’s political representation has on the electorate – particularly regarding feelings of closeness to and satisfaction with political institutions and their levels of political involvement – others have adopted a discursive approach to the study of women and gender as political symbols. Although women’s presence has significantly increased in the last decades, the extent to which politics is still male dominated is made evident every single time in which a top political office has a female holder for the first time. This paper will explore the different repertoires of symbolic representation these women politicians may either consciously or unconsciously deploy (i.e. what do they stand for), such as role model effects, new ways of doing politics or the intersections being highlighted among their overlapping identities. Using content analysis, we will study the differences in self-presentation as well as media presentations of national and subnational women politicians in Spain who have been or currently are the first-ever female in top political positions – including presidents of the national and regional parliaments, presidents of regional governments, leadership positions in political parties and ministers of traditionally masculinized portfolios, such as Economy and Defense. This study will also allow us to identify differences and commonalities among the (re)presentational styles of women politicians.

Palabras clave: Género, élites políticas, representación simbólica