Devin Joshi and Malliga Och. 2014. “Talking about my Generation and Class? Unpacking the Descriptive Representation of Women in Asian Parliaments.” Women’s Studies International Forum
Abstract: Since women (like men) differ in their interests and perspectives, we argue, that studies of the descriptive representation of women in politics ought to consider not only how many women are elected, but also which segments of the female population are proportionally represented and under-represented. Applying this framework to new data on the demographic characteristics of over 4000 members of parliament from sixteen countries in Asia, we find female MPs typically unrepresentative of their country’s female populations at the pivotal intersections of social class and generation. With few exceptions, the majority of women (those who are young, elderly, in working-class occupations, and with average levels of education) are highly under-represented despite considerable variation across countries in electoral systems, quotas for female representation, and levels of socio-economic development. These findings raise interesting questions and offer new avenues for future research on the descriptive representation and substantive representation of women in politics.