Representing women voters: the role of the Gender Gap and the response of political parties

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Campbell, Rosie (2016)

Whilst analysis of the relationship between the descriptive and substantive representation of women has mainly focused on women politicians as critical actors in many contexts political parties provide the linkage between voters’ preferences and policy programmes. The manner in which political parties respond to women voters is shaped by both the information they receive about women voters’ preferences, from the news media, pollsters and other sources, and by gendered party type. Analysis of parties’ attempts to target women voters can help us understand whether parties perceive women as typical or average voters. I conduct two cases studies on the influence of gendered newsframes on party policy and inter-party competition in the United States and Great Britain to formulate a preliminary analytic framework designed to facilitate research to assess how parties’ responses to portrayals of women voters vary according to institutional and contextual factors across time and space.
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