Why has Asia fallen behind other world regions in womenâs parliamentary representation? What kinds of social and institutional transformations could further advance womenâs political representation across the Asian continent?
Focusing on national parliaments, Devin K. Joshi provides scholars and students with an in-depth examination of representation of women in contemporary Asian politics. Whereas most studies have focused on descriptive representation and substantive representation, Joshi offers a more nuanced theoretical framework for understanding the impact of women on Asian politics and vice versa. He does so by presenting an original, integrated framework for studying gendered political representation applicable to any country, institution, or organization. This framework captures four generations of advances in the study of womenâs political representation: critical presence (descriptive and symbolic representation), critical diversity/intersectionality (diverse representation), critical mass and critical actors (substantive representation), and critical duration (sustainable representation). Drawing from a large dataset on the demographic characteristics of over 18,000 female and male members from 38 parliaments across Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia, he is able to address both why only some women enter parliament as well as why some women have more influence than others after entering. Important aspects of Asian parliamentary representation addressed in this book that have thus far been under-researched include:
- Why do some women stay in politics longer than others?
- Under what contexts do we see women holding cabinet positions and chairing parliamentary committees?
- Are women from all educational, occupational, age-cohort/generational, ethnic/religious, and marital status backgrounds included?
Recognizing that descriptive and substantive representations include both quantitative and qualitative components, Women in Asia makes an important contribution vis-Ã -vis previous work on womenâs representation in Asian politics both conceptually and empirically. Joshi successfully builds a bridge between mainstream comparative politics of Asia and the field of gender and politics.
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