Democratizing Democracy: Feminist Perspectives

Citation:

Cornwall, Andrea, and Anne-Marie Goetz. 2005. "Democratizing Democracy: Feminist Perspectives." Democratization 12 (5): 783-800.

Authors: Andrea Cornwall , Anne-Marie Goetz

Abstract:

Increasing numbers of women have gained entry into the arena of representative politics in recent times. Yet the extent to which shifts in the sex ratio within formal democratic spaces translates into political influence, and into gains in policies that redress gendered inequities and inequalities remains uncertain. At the same time, a plethora of new democratic spaces have been created – whether through the promotion of ‘civil society organizations’ or the institutionalization of participatory governance mechanisms – which hold the prospect of democratizing other political spaces beyond those of formal politics. This study examines factors that constrain and enable women's political effectiveness in these different democratic arenas. We suggest that ‘engendering democracy’ by adding women or multiplying democratic spaces is necessary but not sufficient to address historically and culturally embedded forms of disadvantage that have been the focus for feminist politics. We suggest that an important, but neglected, determinant of political effectiveness is women's political apprenticeship –their experiences in political parties, civil society associations and the informal arenas in which political skills are learned and constituencies built. Enhancing the democratizing potential of women's political participation calls, we argue, for democratizing democracy itself: building new pathways into politics, fostering political learning and creating new forms of articulation across and beyond existing democratic spaces.

Keywords: democracy, quotas, affirmative action, engendering democracy, accountability, political institutions, civil society

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Political Participation

Year: 2005

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.