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This article discusses the gendered nature of politics as practice and political science as an academic discipline. It studies the sex-typing characteristic of most institutions in the modern world and describes how gender shapes the ways people organize, think, and know about the world.

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The article then identifies the changes that have occurred in politics and political science over the last hundred years and examines the politics and gender scholarship. Finally, it presents an understanding of the evolution of the gender and politics subfield as well as some of the challenges that remain. Keywords: gendered naturepoliticspolitical sciencesex typinggender.

Politics as a real-world phenomenon and political science as an academic discipline are gendered. This introduction and this volume aim to explain what this means and why it is important. People all over the world find that the basic conditions of their lives—their safety, health, education, work, as well as access to markets, public space, and free expression—are fundamentally shaped by their identification as belonging to particular sex or gender groups.

Individual bodies may be typed as male or female, masculine or feminine, heterosexual or homosexual, transgendered or nongendered in a dizzying variety of ways across cultures and over time. However, these social practices of gender often appear natural and unproblematic, even biological and therefore impossible to change, in the social contexts in which they occur. But a cursory review of the literature on the biological basis of sex, taking into the wide variety of the and content of gender across social contexts, reveals a world far more p.

Gender is never just about sex but varies by race, ethnicity, nation, class, and a variety of other dimensions of social life. Indeed, the persistent, dichotomous sex-typing characteristic of many institutions of the modern world would be a matter of intellectual curiosity if the consequences of being identified with a particular sex were not so dire.

Across the globe, gender determines who goes hungry and who gets adequate nutrition and water, who can vote, run for office, marry, or have rights to children, who commands authority and respect and who is denigrated and dismissed, and who is most vulnerable to violence and abuse in their own homes and intimate relationships see, e.

These norms shape more than personal and family relationships or career paths, though they certainly shape those: they shape religious practice and the structure of markets and processes of governance Charrad ; Brettell and Sargeant ; Lamphere In the Philippines, income from domestic worker care work is the one export and the largest source of foreign currency, while Lim estimates that income from sex work comprises between 2 and 11 percent of the gross domestic product of Thailand. And, finally, since the global economic crisis has had a very differentiated impact in terms of the resulting spending cuts and austerity programs.

It is clear that some groups are affected far more adversely than others, and many women—who make up a large proportion of state and public sector employees and the majority of single parents and the poor—have been particularly hard hit and affected in different ways from men Waylen Perhaps most profoundly, gender influences the very ways we organize and think about the world and our way of knowing about the world. In such a context, it is hardly surprising that political science as a discipline is also gendered and fundamentally shaped by these social norms about sex and sexuality.

The canonical definitions of politics that have delineated the boundaries of the discipline have been read to exclude many of the topics covered in this handbook. As we will see, the study of politics has now broadened beyond the narrow focus on those holding formal office and the politics of distribution. Yet, despite the vibrancy of the gender and politics scholarship shown in this handbook and a long history of gender activism, gender is still ignored in much academic political science.

In doing so, it attempts a of things. First, it challenges existing political science in terms of its concepts, subject matter, and even its methods. Second, it demonstrates the diversity of the gender and politics scholarship, embracing interdisciplinarity and a plurality of methods and approaches in ways that are unusual in political science. And finally, it shows that much of the gender and politics scholarship has close links with the practice of politics, and feminism in particular, which again is unusual within most political science.

As a result, although the of analysis overlap with other handbooks to some degree with chapters on institutions, social movements, interest groups, and multiculturalismthere are also such as sexual violence, reproductive rights, or sexuality and the body more generally not found or less salient in the other handbooks.

More importantly, the organization of the chapters, and the priority given to these topics, is different from the handbooks that overlook gender. In this introduction, we map some of the changes that form the backdrop to this handbook, and we locate the gender and politics scholarship by delineating its relationship to the discipline of political science as it is conventionally understood and to politics as a practice.

We cannot do full justice to the complexity and sophistication of the wealth of gender and politics scholarship that now exists, as what we can present here is limited and inevitably involves some oversimplification. But we argue that gender is centrally important to politics and that inequalities are embedded in both the study and practice of politics. We also show that many scholars, influenced by feminism in its various different forms, see their work as challenging these inequalities and use standard methods and approaches as well as those that are more experimental or innovative.

As such, we do not discuss the different chapters but give you instead some context within which to locate them and an understanding of the development of the gender and politics subfield. We end by outlining some of the challenges that remain before giving a very brief outline of the handbook. For in-depth analyses of key concepts such as gender, intersectionality, reproductive rights, and ones more familiar to political scientists such as citizenship, the state, and representation—all central to the gender and politics scholarship—we direct readers to the individual chapters.

Our starting point is to recognize the big changes that have taken place both in politics as practice and political science as a discipline over the last century.

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Feminist activists and scholars have, of course, contextualized and questioned these patterns of male domination, pointing out that male domination is neither natural nor desirable. Anthropologists have documented the wide variety of family forms and modes of social organization around the world, defying any effort to theorize a universal public—private split or form of male dominance Lamphere For example, in Indonesia, trading in the market was seen as the domain of women Brenner Research similarly shows the bankruptcy of the notion of the supposedly universal patriarchal family form.

Historical and current family forms range widely from polyandry one wife, many husbands to polygyny one husband, many wives and includes matrifocal and matrilineal structures where inheritance and kinship structures pass through women Menon None of these modes of organization necessarily preclude male dominance, but they caution us against universalizing stories of public and private and common gender roles. So the idea that the world was characterized by a uniform, patriarchal structure until the s does not comport with the anthropological or historical record Brettell and Sargeant ; Jolly and Macintyre Nor is it correct to see feminism as a Western invention or recent idea.

Women have organized to demand their rights in virtually every country in the world, though with varying degrees of success Htun and Weldon Feminist activists have used a wide array of tactics, from street theater to petitions and lobbying, to demand these rights.

The s of women who are prominent politicians and he of state and international bodies in Europe, Africa, and Latin America have increased. Sincemore than 30 national leaders have been women. In this decade alone, Hillary Clinton has been the U. And in Novemberthe lower houses of government in Rwanda and Andorra were composed of at least 50 percent women.

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The discipline of political science has also been transformed. There are now more women involved in the academic study of politics. There have also been some very distinguished and influential women political scientists in the political scientist Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel prize for economics. And the academy as a whole has recently made some concerted efforts to create more of a level playing field with regard to women.

But both the world and the disciplines are still male dominated even today. The global average for women in the lower house of legislatures was still only 20 percent in Novembera figure that conceals some big variations ranging from an average of At the United Nations, only 6 of 37 under-secretary generals 16 percent were women. And international business remains perhaps the most male-dominated of these spheres of power; women comprise only 1. On a day-to-day basis, women still struggle to improve the conditions of their lives. A woman dies in childbirth every minute, and 99 percent p.

The revolution in academia is similarly unfinished, with only 22 percent of academic political scientists in United States and United Kingdom in and even fewer women at the highest ranks and the most prestigious research universities APSA Gender and politics scholars argue that the roots of this enduring male domination in both politics and the political science academy are complex and profound. While important, it is not enough in itself. More ificant change is needed both to politics as a practice and to political science as a discipline to make them gender equitable.

To facilitate this, we need to understand what is it about politics as an academic discipline and politics as a practice and the ways the two interact that in this overrepresentation of men and a profound gender blindness. If we first think about the nature of politics and political science as an academic discipline, several interconnected factors jump out.

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For her, the structural position of women reproduces the androcentric biases of the discipline. This domination is reflected in the very narrow and ideological definitions of what counts as politics on which the Anglo-American disciplines have traditionally been based.

Politics, narrowly construed, is the activity of government or governing. Indeed, the word politics in the original Greek was used by Aristotle to connote those questions that pertained to the operation of the polisthe political community. The distinctive feature of politics is its public or general nature, the way it affects the community as a whole as distinct from private matters Arendt ; Wolin Politics is also seen as the study of power, and sometimes by extension the study of the powerful.

The traditional focus on politics as the study of the machinery of government and electoral politics or on political elites and formal institutions rendered women and gender invisible in spite of their foundational importance for building the welfare state and for constructing postcolonial nations, for the conduct of war and terrorism, and for maintaining social and economic privilege more generally. The roots of these core assumptions about what constitutes politics in p. The Anglo-American disciplines took up this widely accepted if mistaken view of the transcultural and transhistorical universality of the public—private split, namely, that citizens or he of household for which one should read men were the ones who were active and who should be active in the public sphere.

This analytical exclusion of women from the public sphere created politics as a male sphere from which women were legitimately excluded as political subjects. In turn, at least when it came to women, the private sphere was seen as lying outside the political arena and therefore did not form part of the legitimate subject matter of the discipline.

The notion of a separation of the public and private spheres persists today. In many places, assumptions about women and men and their respective roles in the public and private spheres still affect issues, from who governs to who decides intimate matters such as sexuality and childbearing.

It affects the ways economies are structured and economic value—seen as created in the productive public sphere and not in the reproductive private sphere—is calculated. It also continues to affect what counts as politics and the political, still predominantly high politics in the public sphere; who is seen as a suitable person to be involved in politics; and what are appropriate issues—often narrowly defined—that exclude certain activities and actors and embody particular notions of masculinity and femininity.

These ideas have again affected what has been deemed suitable subject matter for the academic discipline of politics. Even though some of the conventional definitions of politics would seem to allow for the study of a broader range of phenomena, it was feminists who pushed for a definition of politics that encompassed the personal and the private.

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