Partie ou chapitre de livre
Mapping ‘Feminist’ Demands Across the French
Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation
Colchester : European Consortium for Political Research Press
231 - 250 p.
Feminism has long been viewed as “owned” by the left. However, recent scholarship (Celis and Childs 2012; Childs and Webb 2011) has challenged this view, requiring researchers to consider more carefully the relationship between conservatism and feminism. The classical analysis of the link between descriptive and substantive representation (Pitkin, 1967; Sapiro, 1998) do not hold in account the ideological dimension of the conception of women’s interest and assimilate substantive representation and feminism. We argue that if sex and ideology do influence how politicians define problems as politics and identify solutions, the definition of women’s interest has so to be analyzed as splitting ideologically (Murray, 2010; Sénac-Slawinski, 2008). However, concerning gender equality politcy beyond their characteristics (women-men, left – right) politicians make strategic alliances (Bereni,Lépinard, 2004). Drawing on interviews with more than fifty French deputies of both sexes across the political spectrum, we examine how some gender-conscious right-wing deputies are fusing elements of left-wing feminism with right-wing conservatism. Is it possible to reconcile these two ideologies without fundamentally betraying the core beliefs of either? We explore how right-wing feminists navigate conflicts both internally, when gender equality measures contradict other aspects of their ideology, and externally, when their advocacy of women’s interests places them at odds with their male-dominated party. The extent to which internal conflicts can be resolved depends on how feminism, conservatism, women’s interests and substantive representation are defined in their links.