Annotated Table of Contents
By Kathleen Montgomery
This chapter establishes the plan of the book, sets forth the theoretical and substantive justifications for examining women’s legislative recruitment and institutional design in the new post-communist democracies, and provides basic data on changes in representation since the fall of communism. The author presents empirical evidence that women’s representation in the region initially declined from communist (quota-driven) highs of 25-35 percent of legislative seats to levels usually in the single digits. Female representation has since increased in several post-communist nations, but current levels are well below those found in most of the Western democracies. Observers have often treated this phenomenon as a "return to normal politics" or as a peculiar cultural legacy of the communist experiment--a backlash against mandatory participation or an "allergy to feminism." The stress has been on explanations that emphasized the uniqueness of the Eastern European experience. Explanations of female legislative recruitment developed in the established democracies—particularly those having to do with electoral and party institutions--have received scant attention in explaining women’s position in post-communist polities. The crucial argument of this book is that formal representation is of substantial significance and our understanding of it can be enhanced by applying Western theories in the Eastern countries.
Referring to Abigail Adams’ famous injunction to "remember the Ladies," the author argues that post-communist women have been forgotten twice. They were forgotten by the "founding fathers" who, through Roundtable Talks, legislative action, and inter-party pacts, established institutions that ruled some groups into the policy-making process and others, including women, out. Under communism, women were provided significant representation in the national legislatures, but their role was symbolic with little real power. At precisely the moment when legislatures were becoming meaningful representative institutions, many of the mechanisms that had been designed to ensure high levels of representation under communism were dismantled.
Women were forgotten a second time by Western institutional scholars who, in their rush to study the systemic consequences of "constitutional crafting", largely ignored the consequences for women. The author goes on to argue that this oversight is unfortunate in a number of ways. First, when public policies are made representation in formal political bodies is of considerable significance. Western research has shown that women’s legislative presence makes a difference to women’s interests in both legislative agendas and policy outcomes. Women in the East are among the most vulnerable groups in the dual economic and political transitions of the region. Yet, they are largely excluded from the formulation of party platforms and legislative agendas, and they are told that the issues of greatest concern to them must wait until the exigencies of transition have been satisfied.
Second to understand the position of women in Eastern European polities it makes sense to draw on the existing research done in Western Europe. This literature has gone largely untapped in attempts to understand the role of women in Eastern European politics. This is especially unfortunate, since a number of post-communist countries did, by coincidence, adopt institutional features that we would expect to be woman-friendly. Whether these institutions produce higher levels of female representation is a matter for empirical testing, a task carried out by the case study chapters.
We have a good idea in the established democracies about the institutions that promote female representation. Understanding how those institutions behave in the post-communist context can help us to better understand female legislative recruitment as a general phenomenon; to recognize the unique features of gender politics in new democratic and post-communist settings; and offer practical suggestions to improve the status of women in legislatures in the region and worldwide.
Chapter 1—Recruiting Women to National Legislatures: A General Framework with Applications to the Post-Communist Democracies
By Richard Matland and Kathleen Montgomery
This chapter sets forth a general framework for understanding female legislative recruitment and then applies it in the post-communist context. . Existing research on female legislative recruitment finds that women are not primarily winnowed out of the recruitment process at the stage of formal eligibility or in general elections. Rather the crucial points are getting women to come forward as candidates and getting parties to select women at the nomination stage. Our framework therefore posits that the level of female representation (understood as percent of seats held in the legislature) is a function of the supply of and demand for female candidates. Supply refers to both the willingness of women to put themselves forward as candidates and the relative availability of female candidates with the characteristics that make candidates attractive to party gatekeepers and voters. Demand refers to the desire and willingness of the party selectorate to nominate women. These two elements of the framework are affected by a number of factors that have been identified in the literature on advanced industrial democracies—cultural context, level and type of women’s organization and level of political development. Supply and demand, in turn, are strongly mediated, by institutions that determine the incentive structure facing political parties and politically ambitious individuals.
Research in the established democracies has identified a fairly clear menu of woman-friendly institutions. These include proportional representation electoral rules in high magnitude multi-member constituencies, high electoral thresholds, affirmative action in nomination, large legislative chambers, and parties that nominate candidates through centralized and bureaucratized procedures (as opposed to patronage). Where such institutions are in place, women ought to have greater opportunities for political participation, because the system provides the opportunity and incentive for ticket balancing.
In Western democracies where these institutional structures exist, and women are politically active, there is a consistent finding of strong representation of women in elected bodies. Institutions influence with supply and demand; they do not, however, create political equality by themselves. If there is little pressure to nominate women, party gatekeepers in PR systems will use the opportunity to balance their tickets to meet the representation demands of other groups, and women will still be under-represented.
The post-communist systems provide a novel testing ground for a framework based on Western research. These new democracies inherited a level of political development likely to produce a large supply of female aspirants. Under communism, women achieved high levels of educational attainment and workforce participation, and citizens came to understand a public role for women as mandatory. This role was to be realized through fertility control (on-demand abortion) and the socialization of many domestic chores—state-sponsored daycare centers, health care, pensions plans, and public canteens. Numerous studies have shown, however, that women were never truly emancipated in the communist systems. Female labor was mobilized during times of shortage, but social services were often rationed and of low quality. Work for women was treated as a duty, rather than a right, and women tended to be segregated into the low pay and low prestige sectors. At the same time they were expected to take an active public political role, but much of this participation was pro forma and token. Women were excluded from the top echelons of power in the Party and state institutions. Democratization—far from mobilizing women—actually revealed a societal "allergy to feminism," often accompanied by the rhetoric of nationalism.
The legacies of communism include a high level of economic and social development, on the one hand, but depressed levels of supply and demand, on the other. This differs from the developing countries, where women often lack a minimum threshold of education, occupational experience, and popular acceptance necessary to become viable candidates. It also differs from the Western democracies, where second-wave feminism mobilized women to seek equality. The post-communist democracies provide a third type of system. This chapter lays out the predictions for the post communist democracies on the assumption that the institutional mechanisms will have effects similar to those found in Western democracies. There is, however, the expectation that the magnitude of female legislative representation and the size of the effects reported for these institutional factors will be lower than in Western democracies that benefited from second wave feminism.
Post-communism, of course, is not a static condition. The strength and nature of the communist legacy differs across post-communist countries, and the impact of that legacy may be changing over time as party systems crystallize and post-communist electorates transform. Describing the developing trends and evaluating whether the patterns are consistent with those seen in the West are themes that reappear throughout the remainder of the book.
Chapter 2 Gender Politics in the Mass Public in Eastern and Western Europe —By Beth Stark, Sue Thomas, and Clyde Wilcox
An important condition for women to be able to demand greater representation is the existence among at least some portion of the public of a "feminist consciousness " that is likely to be supportive of women candidates and be sensitive to representation issues. This sensitivity can either be in the sense of actively demanding greater representation of women or merely in the sense of believing that a more equal distribution of elected positions is a desirable and attractive goal.
The authors empirically test one aspect of demand—popular support for gender equality--in Eastern and Central Europe using World Values Surveys done in a large number of Eastern and Western European countries (1990-1993). They find that general support for gender equality differs in significant ways between the post-communist democracies and the established democracies in the West. While post-communist women appear to be more supportive of legal abortion than their sisters in the West, they are also more likely to believe that, when jobs are scarce, they should be reserved for men. They are also far more likely to say that a woman must have a child to be fulfilled. Such classically anti-feminist attitudes would seem to discourage the formation of organized western-style women’s movements and, by extension, to mitigate against active support for female candidates. The authors explain the general lack of support for gender equality in terms of the legacy of communist directive emancipation--a legacy that includes severe double burdens, tokenism, societal retreat into family circles, and rejection of feminist rhetoric.
Surprisingly, however, the authors also find that post-communist women are significantly more likely to say that they support a woman’s movement than their Western counterparts. The authors explain this by saying that, because post-communist women understand and relate to feminism differently than Western women, their support for a "woman’s movement" appears to signals support for traditionalist (non-feminist) groups. This has some interesting implications. On the one hand, the survey data support the standard wisdom about a post-communist "allergy to Western style feminism." On the other hand, it suggests that over time women’s representation in East Central Europe may be improved as women galvanize around traditional care issues. The early women’s movement in the United States began around such issues. A similar evolution might be taking place in some of the post-communist democracies. Rather than lament the absence of second wave feminism in Eastern Europe, these authors suggest that there may be mobilizational potential for women around traditional care issues; and eventually that mobilization could lead to an effective movement for gender equality.
Chapter 3—Women’s Representation in Germany: A Comparison of East and West
By Joanne Brzinski
Women’s representation in unified Germany is higher than in any of the post-communist countries at about 27 percent, no doubt due in part to East Germany’s assimilation into the established West German democracy. The author argues, however, that there should be interesting variation between the two regions of the country. Reunited Germany operates under a single constitutional and legal framework, including a hybrid electoral system that combines ½ proportional representation on closed party lists and ½ single-member district plurality. Political culture and other socio-demographic factors, however, vary rather markedly in the two regions. Under communist rule, women in the East attained higher levels of education and workforce participation than their counterparts in the West. They also enjoyed a more active role in the public/political sphere. Nevertheless, women in the East never experienced the second-wave feminist movement, and specific legacies of communist directive emancipation might be expected to decrease the supply of and demand for female candidates. Furthermore, smaller district magnitudes and more parties competing for seats in the East should also tend to lower women’s representation.
The empirical evidence contradicts these expectations. Women win more seats in the East than they do in the West. What explains this finding? Are the legacies of communism less important as an impediment to female representation than scholars have believed? Is there something unique about the unification process? In order to answer these questions, the author analyzes electoral data from 1998. She finds that cultural and historical differences between the two regions seem to be expressed through different party systems. The West continues to operate under the old 2 and ½ party system (CDU-CSU, SPD and FDP/Greens). The East has emerged as a three party system including the reformed communist PDS. Both East and West have one party that is overtly committed to the recruitment of women: the Greens in the West and the PDS in the East. These parties use affirmative action to increase the number of women nominated for meaningful candidacies. Much of the greater success for women in the East can therefore be accounted for by the success of the PDS. The author argues that the PDS actively recruits women for two main reasons. First, it has fashioned itself as a protector of the victims of unification, depicting women as chief among these victims in its campaign advertisements. Second, the PDS possesses inherited organizational structures and norms that make it more accessible to women seeking representation of their issues. The PDS’ emphasis on female recruitment in turn places pressure on the other parties competing in the region to follow suit. This contagion effect helps to explain why a party like the CDU tends to recruit more women in the East than in the West.
Chapter 4 --- Women’s Representation in Post-Communist Lithuania
By Algis Krupavicius and Irmina Matonyte
Lithuania is one of the success stories for women in Eastern Europe, with the highest level of representation in Eastern Europe outside of Eastern Germany. Eighteen percent of the MPs elected in the 1996 elections were women, more than doubling from the 1992 elections. The authors search for possible explanations for these results in a number of areas.
The authors present extensive public opinion polling information that show there is only a small difference between men and women in terms of how politically involved they are. In terms of voting, interest in politics, participating in political discussions there are only limited gender differences. When one also takes into consideration that the population as a whole is more female than male, the split is 55/45 and is caused partially because the life expectancy of women in much of Eastern Europe is considerably greater than men, there are only small differences in terms of interest. The pool of aspirants to office should have a good gender mix.
The authors also evaluate the electoral system, nomination procedures and the effects of political ideology on women’s access to power. There is a clear upward trend in terms of fielding women candidates among all the parties over time. The authors attribute this partially to a change in the electoral system, partially to an improvement in the economy so that "mid level issues" such as representation became more prominent and partially to parties internal decision making to promote women. The authors note that in 1996 they see a contagion effect with parties needing to prove their concern for women in the face of an expected strong challenge from K. Prunskiene’s Women Party (Prunskiene had previously served as Prime Minister). All the major parties nominated at least 15% women and most were above 20% women on their lists.
Interestingly, women are much better represented in parliament in parties of the right than parties of the left. A look at the nomination numbers show that women were nominated in significant numbers by most parties, but because the Lithuanian Conservatives (Homeland Union) won significantly more seats they were able to go deeper into their list they elected more women. Even when this effect is taken into account, women tend to slightly better with the center and right parties than the reformed communists. The authors suggest this is at least partially explained by the strong links between the Lithuanian parties and their Western sister parties who have emphasized the importance of descriptive representation.
Chapter 5—The Puzzle of Women’s Representation in Hungary’s Rubik’s Cube Electoral System
By Kathleen Montgomery and Gabriella Ilonszki
Hungary’s electoral system is also a mixed system; roughly ½ the seats are in single member districts, while half are apportioned via proportional representation in variable magnitude counties and a single nation-wide constituency. Unlike Germany and Lithuania, however, Hungary has posted relatively low levels of female representation, even compared to its Eastern European neighbors, and it has recently dropped from 11 percent to only eight percent women in the National Assembly. One way to account for the lower overall level of female representation is to look at the electoral system. The majoritarian element of the system should discourage women. In Hungary’s founding democratic election, it appeared to work in precisely that way. Women were recruited far more readily through multi-member constituencies and particularly the national lists. In subsequent elections, however, the relationship between electoral system variables and female recruitment weakens; in 1998, it virtually disappears. The authors review several possible explanations for this apparent weakening effect.
They hypothesize, first, that the high degree of volatility (party seat change) and fragmentation in the party system should reduce the positive effects of large magnitude PR by reducing party magnitudes (the size of delegation a party can send to the legislature). This, in turn, reduces ticket-balancing opportunities and imperatives. In addition, when there are no safe district seats to allocate, party gatekeepers will tend to place party leaders (typically men) in top list slots. Analyses of candidate lists confirm the negative impact of high turnover on female recruitment. Electoral data show, however, that party magnitude explains very little variance in female legislative recruitment, within or across electoral periods.
The authors then turn to the parties themselves. They find that the left-liberal parties place a larger number of women in winnable positions on their lists than rightist parties due to a less traditional ideology and more transparent and accessible nomination procedures. Hence, in elections where leftist parties do well, returns for women improve. The authors also find the electoral system effects and party ideology effects interact. In 1990 the rightist MDF took the lion’s share of district seats and won relatively few PR seats; this situation was reversed in the next election when the Socialists swept the districts, but won few PR seats. It appeared the relationship between ballot type and district magnitude was breaking down, when in fact a more woman friendly party had simply prevailed in the districts. This effect is magnified in the peculiar Hungarian system, which allocates its national list seats through remainder votes and allows parties to run candidates in districts as well as county and/or national lists.
Finally, the authors suggest that low demand may hinder women’s success. Voters do not appear to overtly discriminate against female candidates. Still, women’s caucuses within the parties remain weak. Other groups, like Trade Unions, churches, and pensioners’ associations, are able to more effectively influence the ticket-balancing strategies of party leaders. This undermines expected benefits of the PR component of the electoral system.
Chapter 6—Women and Political Representation in Contemporary Ukraine
By Sarah Birch
Initial post-communist elections in Ukraine placed that country among the most dismal performers in terms of female legislative representation. This could be accounted for partly in terms of cultural and socio-economic factors. Ukrainian political discourse was polarized around nationalism, and Ukraine emerged from transition as one of the poorer economies in the region. The author notes, however, that these same factors were present (perhaps to a lesser degree) in all of the post-communist countries. What can explain the particularly sharp decline in female political participation in Ukraine and what can account for recent improvements? Using data from a national survey of citizens, data from a unique survey of political candidates, and detailed results from all the post-transition elections, the author provides a two-fold response: party system institutionalization and electoral system reform.
In the immediate aftermath of communism’s collapse and Ukrainian independence, the Ukrainian party system could hardly be described as a system. It was highly fragmented and politics were personalized. In this context, the author shows that "there was strong incentive for free lance politicians to try their hand at the electoral lottery." That was true for women as well, but women typically lacked the kinds of personal patronage networks and resources necessary to compete in such a landscape.
In 1998, a new electoral system was put into place, a system, the author argues, reflected the growing "particization" of Ukrainian politics. The Ukrainians adopted the German mixed system with half the seats allocated through SMD, and half through a national list system. A relatively high electoral threshold was set to prevent party fragmentation. These new features, in turn, reinforced the party role in candidate selection. That appears to have had a positive impact on women’s legislative representation. The share of seats held by women nearly doubled, with women experiencing gains across mandate categories but particularly in the PR component of the system. Neither survey evidence nor electoral data support the notion that voters discriminate against women at the ballot box. The key for women is to get nominated to a winnable position by a party. PR electoral rules and stronger parties are helping women to gain greater access. Improvements in the economy could further promote women by providing them with the time and resources to come forward as aspirants. In turn, better organization on the part of women’s groups could place pressure on the parties to nominate more women.
Chapter 7—Electoral Systems and Women’s Representation—The Strange Case of Russia
By Robert G. Moser
This chapter begins by establishing Russia as a strange case. Like Germany, Lithuania, Hungary, and Ukraine, Russia employs a mixed electoral system which allows the researcher to hold cultural and historical factors constant and compare directly the effects of different ballot structures. Unlike those other cases, however, women actually fare better in the single member district component of the system than on party lists. The relationship between electoral system and female representation runs precisely counter to the expectations of the literature in the established democracies. Having established this point, the author then sets out to discover why this might be the case. He suggests a focus on parties, both the individual characteristics of the parties and the overall fragmentation and instability of the party system.
Analyses of individual parties conclude there is clear variation across parties in terms of nominating women . The communist successor party (KPRF) appears to recruit women more readily than other parties due in part to inherited organizational structures and norms regarding female participation. If the more pro-female parties tended to consistently win more seats at the district level than at the national level, as happened to some degree in Hungary in the 1998 elections, this would help explain these anomalous results. The author discovers, however, no significant correlation between particular parties and mandate type.
Party system fragmentation does have demonstrable effects for women on both the PR and the single member district tiers of the electoral system. In the PR tier, fragmentation has split the women’s vote and dispersed the female elite across too many parties, most of which cannot overcome the 5 percent electoral threshold. In the districts, fragmentation has lowered the effective threshold for representation. This encourages more women to run. The author concludes that the resources necessary to run in single-member districts (name recognition and regional political experience) are more accessible to women in Russia’s unstable and fragmented party system than the resources necessary for success in PR elections (notability in a major political party and patronage).
Chapter 8-The Party Paradox: Electing Women Independents to Russian Regional Legislatures
By Dawn Nowacki
Research on female legislative representation in Russia has focused almost exclusively on the national level and found that the Russian case defies many of the explanations formulated in the established democracies. This chapter tests whether the same holds true in the Russian regional legislatures. The regions provide a unique laboratory in which to explore the determinants of female legislative recruitment in a new post-communist democracy. Women’s representation varies widely across the 89 sub-federal regions. These regions share some 70 years of common historical and institutional traditions. They were all subject to communist policies of "directive emancipation" with regard to women. They all emerged from the Soviet practice of democratic centralism, and with transition they have all mirrored the national pattern of a dominant executive. Because these factors do not vary, the author argues that they can be held constant and attention can shift to theoretically meaningful characteristics that do vary. These include legislative size, the nature of the sub-federal unit’s relationship to the center, electoral system employed to fill legislative seats, and level of political development. Drawing on a novel and extensive database, empirical analyses chiefly find that:
The author concludes that, in a highly unstable party system (what she calls a no-party party system), women find it easier to circumvent parties entirely and run as independent candidates in districts where they enjoy name recognition. The KPRF, the only party with inherited organization and recruitment norms, proves more amenable to women , than the other parties, because there are clear points of access in the nomination process. Other parties tend to operate on the murky basis of patronage and personality, so women have difficulty getting nominated.
Chapter 9—Women’s Political Representation in Poland: Gender and Party Politics
By Renata Siemienska
It has been postulated in the existing literature on post-communist women that the decline in female representation results from a dual process: women do not want to be involved in formal politics and voters do not believe that women have a rightful place in the public domain. This was to be especially true in Poland, where the Catholic Church has been eager to flex its traditionalist muscles in the new political landscape and nationalism has filled the void left by the demise of communist ideology. Using World Values survey data, however, the author shows that the Polish populace is at best split on the issue of political equality, that attitudes toward female participation are changing, and that there is a growing gender gap. Younger and more educated women, in particular, challenge the traditional role for women and express dissatisfaction with current levels of female participation in politics. The author further shows that viable female candidates have a high electoral success rate, so voters are not a prime hindrance to female participation. Indeed, through preferential voting, voters often promote women into much higher list positions than their parties originally offered.
Having dismissed lack of interest by women and voter sexism as primary explanations of female under-representation, the author then turns to the nomination phase of the process. The most important point is getting parties to place women on their lists, so she examines list data and looks for differences across parties. She finds that parties of the left and center are more likely to place women on their lists and to place them in meaningful positions. There are a number of reasons for this including the party’s ideology (attitudes about the proper role of women), nominating and recruitment practices, and the nature and level of women’s organization. The author provides a detailed description of the nomination processes and how women are able to take advantage of them. Parties of the left are more open to women’s involvement in political life and more likely to receive concerted demand from women’s organizations.
Chapter 10--Political Parties and the Under-Recruitment of Women in the Czech Republic
By Steve Saxonberg
The author starts this chapter by saying that the Czech Republic ought to produce relatively high levels of female legislative representation. It has a PR electoral system that utilizes party lists in relatively large magnitude districts. Like other post-communist systems, it boasts a highly educated female population with a history of workforce participation. The Czech Republic, however, has produced levels of female legislative participation well below Western democracies and it is not a leader among the post-communist countries. The rest of the chapter is devoted to explaining this puzzle.
The common explanation in much of the post-communist literature combines low supply (women are looking to shed one of their many "burdens") and voter backlash (outright discrimination at the ballot box). The author disagrees with these suggestions and presents data to back his position. Public opinion polls clearly demonstrate that Czech women today want to participate in politics, and an analysis of candidate lists and electoral outcomes shows that women fare about as well as men when they are placed in meaningful candidacies. The author therefore turns to the nomination stage of the recruitment process—to the characteristics of the parties and the strategies of groups seeking to influence the decisions of party gatekeepers.
The author draws upon a unique set of data combining internal party documents, electoral returns, party lists, and interviews with leaders of women’s organizations within and outside the parties. From these data, he is able to provide a detailed account of the "secret gardens" of the Czech parties and the impact of internal party practices on the recruitment of women. He finds that none of the parties explicitly emphasize the recruitment of women through the use, for example, of affirmative action for nominations. Some parties—particularly those on the left, however, have been more willing to recruit women. Women are more successful in these parties because these parties utilize an organizational structure that is accessible to women. Also, women’s organizations on the left make legislative representation a priority and pursue various strategies to pressure party gatekeepers. Women’s organizations associated with the center and right exist, but they tend to prefer a backstage role, working on fund-raising and campaigning rather than seeking office for women. He finds that pressure from within the parties is to date largely absent, but that it will be essential if women are to achieve higher levels of representation.
Chapter 11—Explaining the Decline in Women’s Representation in the Slovak Parliament During the Post-Communist Transition
By Darina Malova and Olga Bakova
As with the Czech case, women in Slovakia might have been expected to gain high levels of representation with the advent of democracy. Female representation, however, declined sharply with the fall of communism, has remained low, and is presently below that of the Czech Republic, despite the recent shift to an electoral system that employs a nationwide constituency. The authors make two primary arguments to explain the persistent under-representation of women.
First, they show that nation building is still the dominant theme in Slovak public discourse, even after the velvet divorce. This has adversely affected women in several ways. Nationalism became the primary issue around which early party formation took place. The public image of woman as "worker-mother" was transformed in the public debate to one of "mother of the nation," the literal and symbolic reproducer of the ethnic community. At a symbolic level, this has relegated women to the private sphere. At a practical level, the emphasis on nation-building over political equality has meant that the supply of women willing to put themselves forward as candidates is limited and that the issues of greatest concern to women in the transition are often swept aside as unimportant. In this environment, party gatekeepers feel very little pressure to balance their tickets with women.
The second argument has to do with the nascent party and electoral institutions. The authors argue that the Slovak electoral system used in the most recent election should have been nearly ideal for women. It includes PR, high electoral thresholds, and the largest possible district magnitude--a nationwide constituency. But, it doesn’t work that way in practice due to subterranean party fragmentation. The electoral law sets a very high threshold for coalitions of parties to gain representation. The nationalist leader and former Prime Minister, Vladimir Meciar, instituted this threshold as a way of protecting his party’s dominance against a unification of democratic forces. To thwart Meciar’s strategy, numerous minor parties banded together, but they did not call themselves a coalition, rather they unified --in name only-- under a single party banner. Within one of these parties, the authors assert that there are as many as eleven "partyletts". When it comes time to draw up the party lists, tickets are balanced quite explicitly between the various party groups based on their electoral strength. Winnable slots are reserved for party leaders who, not surprisingly, are almost exclusively male. Hence, the electoral system actually acts like a very small magnitude or even single-member district system. This helps to explain the finding that the rightist-nationalist HZDS recruits more female MPs than the leftist and centrist parties. Since it is not a coalition masquerading as a party, it has the luxury of balancing its ticket on the basis of geographical, gender, and other criteria.
Chapter 12—Factors Influencing the Parliamentary Representation of Women in Post-Communist Slovenia
By Milica G. Antic
Slovenia is a country that has always seen itself as belonging to the West. It is presently preoccupied with trying to join the European Union and it clearly enjoys a more Western level of socio-economic and political development than the other members of the former Yugoslavia. Nonetheless, Slovenia still defines representation in very narrow terms, denying the importance of descriptive representation unless it is ethnically defined. As a result, the legislative presence of women has declined since the advent of democracy and in relative terms against the very Western countries with which Slovenia would like to compare itself.
The author argues that Slovene women are not a- or anti-political, and they are no strangers to politics. Supply does not prevent women from entering parliament; electoral institutions and parties do. The Slovenian electoral system is complicated. On paper, it is a PR system with large magnitude constituencies, but these constituencies are broken into electoral districts in which parties may only field a single candidate. The logic of the system therefore becomes the same as a single-member district system. A party might be able to balance a ticket within a constituency but not an electoral district. This adversely affects women in at least two ways: (1) the logic of recruitment becomes zero-sum and that makes women seem like risky candidates to party gatekeepers, and (2) districts create a personal vote and place the burden of campaigning on the individual. There is a national list component of the system, as well, but parties reserve top slots for party leaders who are usually male. The author suggests that this shows that there are avenues for women within the electoral institutions if parties were willing to nominate them.
Parties might be more willing to nominate women if women were more strongly organized, but there would probably still be resistance. Party formation was dominated by men and by the "big issues" of transition to democracy and independent statehood. Unsurprisingly, the nationalist family of parties is least likely to recruit women, but none of the parties use affirmative action to increase women’s representation. The author suggests that this would be an important step towards improving the position of women.
Chapter 13—Women and Elections in Macedonia (1990-1998)
By Karolina Ristova
The Macedonian case anchors the low point of women’s representation in this volume at an average of 5 percent across the three post communist elections. The author argues that democracy brought the promise of rule by "the people" but what has been established is rule by the men, an "andrarchy". Through figures, she demonstrates the dismal state of female representation in the Macedonian legislature, government, and parties. She then sets forth several hypotheses to explain the strength and persistence of andrarchy in Macedonia.
The chapter explains how the legal framework of the country, the low socio-economic conditions of women, and religio-cultural factors act as barriers to the supply of female aspirants and how the slow resurrection of civil society has inhibited the formation of effective women’s organizations. These factors exist in other post-communist democracies, but the author argues that they are more severe in Macedonia, a country with the lowest GNP/capita in Europe that, in many ways, more closely resembles the developing world. Where Slovenia, another former Yugoslav Republic, has achieved a minimum threshold of economic and political development, Macedonia has not. Still, this is not the only explanation for andrarchy.
Despite what party leaders seem to believe, voters do not discriminate against women at the ballot box. It is party gatekeepers, themselves, who have acted to winnow women out, at least partly due to the electoral system. The first two Macedonian elections were held under majoritarian rules and female representation was dismally low (around 4%). The switch to a system involving PR immediately doubled women’s representation. The level remains below many of Macedonia’s neighbors and much of Western Europe, but the electoral law change has had immediate and positive results.
Chapter 14: Conclusion: Women’s Representation in Eastern Europe
By Richard Matland
This chapter summarizes, integrates, and synthesizes the results of the previous chapters. The development of powerful theory requires a consistent interaction between theory and data. Going back to the model described in the first chapter, the author reports how well the model has held up when faced with the data presented in the individual country analyses in Eastern Europe. A significant portion of the chapter will summarize the results across countries in terms of the various theoretical elements initially discussed (electoral systems, party systems, party nomination procedures, party ideology etc.). To the degree hypotheses based on findings in the Western literature are confirmed in these individual country chapters this represents significant proof of the theoretical model’s robustness and an important step forward in our general understanding concerning women’s access to power. To the degree the results fail to confirm pre-existing theories they will suggest a need to re-evaluate or, perhaps more precisely, to explicitly identify the antecedent conditions required for the effects found in the West to appear.One general finding that does appear to be quite consistent with the Western literature is the crucial role that the nomination process plays. The data are fairly consistent in showing that women are willing to participate in politics and voters are willing to elect them. The crucial stage in the East, as in the West, is the stage at which the parties select candidates. The chapter will review and systematize the findings with respect to nomination procedures across the Eastern European countries studies to help draw conclusions about what nominating procedures advantage and disadvantage women.
The initial results concerning the other elements of the model indicate that basic assertions about the effects of electoral systems, party nomination procedures, and party ideology perform quite well in some Eastern European countries. They appear to have no effect in other countries, and to actually counter our predictions in a third set of countries. In this case, our findings suggest that more careful specification of the conditions under which theoretically predicted connections occur are needed. The effects of electoral systems, in particular, are influenced by a couple of contextual conditions. Women appear to have fared best in states that have begun to develop stable party systems (e.g. Germany, Lithuania). Where only a bare semblance of party organization exists (Russia being foremost among these), the expectations for electoral system performance appear to fail.
For each of these areas the review will emphasize an ability to generalize from the Eastern European findings to a broader base to help us understand women’s representation more generally. The book will close with predictions of what developments we expect and what developments are likely to be necessary for women to take their place as equal participants in the political lives of their countries.