ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Substantively Representing Minority Women in the UK Parliament: Who, When, How?

Gender
Institutions
Parliaments
Representation
Qualitative
Quantitative
Race
Orly Siow
Newcastle University
Orly Siow
Newcastle University

Abstract

Using an original dataset drawn from UK House of Commons debates 1997-2017, and a combination of automated and manual textual analysis, this paper addresses two interrelated sets of questions. Firstly, which representatives make minoritized women present in parliamentary debates, under what conditions, and how? And secondly, when does this constitutive representation of minoritized women also comprise substantive representation? I draw on an intersectional theoretical framework and existing literatures on race, gender and political representation in to analyse the conditions under which representations of minoritized women appear in UK House of Commons debates; how the intersections of race and gender, minority women, and their interests are constituted in this context; and the conditions under which speaking about also equals speaking for. I make three key arguments. Firstly, we must approach political representation intersectionally to avoid making claims about ‘women’ or ‘minorities’ which centre the most privileged among these groups and further marginalise those who are least privileged. Secondly, when researching the intersections of race and gender in this context, we must meet the methodological challenge of treating identities as contextual and dynamic rather than static and deterministic. Thirdly, given the unique positioning of minoritized women (rendered symbolic of causes far beyond, and frequently in conflict with, their own interests and perspectives) explicit claims to represent members of this group must be handled with caution.