a1 London School of Economics
a2 University College London
a3 Queen Mary University of London
One question at the heart of the analysis of gender and politics is whether women and men act and speak in different ways to significant political effect. In terms of political representation, this issue is particularly important. Arguments for increasing the number of women representatives in parliament, for example, are not about an abstract numerical parity, but rest on a claim about the distinctive voice and experience that women bring to political debate and decisions. For some, the difference turns on the view that women bring a more empathetic and less adversarial style to politics. A number of feminist scholars have suggested that the quality of deliberation is correlated with the presence of women in a group—for Mansbridge (1996, 123), for example, the process of persuasion is related to a consultative and participatory style that seems to characterize women more than men. For others, arguments for increasing the number of women representatives in parliament turn on a difference of values. Such views were particularly widespread in the 1980s, when psychological and social theories of gender differences claimed to have found evidence of parallel but different moral reasoning in women and men (Gilligan 1982; Ruddick 1989; Tronto 1993). Gilligan (1982, 57), among others, advanced in her seminal work, In a Different Voice, that female politicians are more likely to espouse an “ethic of care” concerned with responsibility and interpersonal relationships, while men are, by contrast, prone to embrace an “ethic of justice.”
Aude Bicquelet is a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom: firstname.lastname@example.org
Albert Weale is a Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at University College London, London, United Kingdom: email@example.com
Judith Bara is Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom: firstname.lastname@example.org
The authors would like to thank the Nuffield Foundation and the European Social Research Council (PTA-026-27-2431) for supporting this work.