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Miki Caul Kittilson, "Women, parties and platforms in post-industrial democracies," Party Politics, 17 (January, 2011), 66-92. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol17/issue1/ ]

First paragraph:
Will women transform party politics? Certainly a host of factors including leadership changes, party competition and a party's past policy stances are integral forces in shaping a party's agenda. However, the role of women within parties has often received short shrift in party politics research. As a group of relative newcomers to party politics, women may contribute to shaping a party's policy agenda and to changes in party rules and procedures. Although men have traditionally dominated parties, women have made great strides in recent decades (Kittilson, 2006; Kunovich and Paxton, 2005; Lovenduski and Norris, 1993). Women's unique shared backgrounds and life experiences, based on a gendered division of labour, may enhance the likelihood that greater numbers of women in party politics will lead to parties giving greater priority to certain issues.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Direct, indirect and contingent models
Figure 2. Favourable mentions of social justice by party family type
Figure 3. Salience of welfare issues in party platforms by party type
Figure 4. Salience of education by party family type
Figure 5. Party gender quotas by party family type
Table 1. Direct effects: effects of women's presence in office and party characteristics on platform salience and party gender quotas
Table 2. Indirect effects: modelling the effects of party characteristics on women's share of the parliamentary delegation
Table 3. Conditional effects: interactions among women's presence and party characteristics
Figure 6. The mediating effect of women's organizations on women MPs on the salience of welfare state expansion in party programmes
Appendix A. countries, parties and elections in the study
Appendix B: Data Sources

Last Paragraph:
Women represent one group of new contenders in democratic politics. Other new contenders include identity-based groups such as racial and ethnic minorities, and groups formed around issue-based concerns, such as the environment. Examining the effect of women as a group in party politics is especially important because gender is so central to the political process and institutions. Yet the results of this research may be cautiously applied to new contenders more generally, and how they can best heighten the salience of issues. New contenders in party politics may most effectively gain leverage over party policy agendas and new party rules by not only increasing their numbers in office and among the party leadership, but also by organizing and mobilizing on the basis of their shared concerns. A strategy based on formal organization as a group within the party appears less to be in jeopardy of isolation, but rather a springboard from which new groups can press particular claims for representation in party politics.

Last updated December 2011