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Study: Stereotypical gender roles also influence behavior in politics

BC, Tallinn, 19.11.2020.Print version
A study by the Praxis Center for Policy Studies found that stereotypical gender roles also influence the behavior as well as the valuation and treatment of women and men in politics, informed LETA/BNS.

Within the framework of a project funded by the European Commission, Praxis studied the participation of women in Estonian politics between 2019 and 2020, interviewed politicians and analyzed the coverage of politicians in the media. The study found that stereotypical gender roles prevalent in society influence the behavior as well as the valuation and treatment of women and men in politics. This, in turn, affects women's opportunities and motivation to engage in top politics.

"Political parties have an important role to play in reducing the inequalities that women face in politics," Praxis analyst Jane Ester said. "The share and placement of women on electoral lists still puts women at a disadvantage in starting a political career compared with men."

With this in mind, Praxis has come up with recommendations on what to do so that there will soon be an equal number of women and men in the Riigikogu. In addition to political parties, the recommendations are also aimed at journalists to help avoid portraying both female and male politicians using worn-out gender role templates.

The conference "Women in Politics -- Breaking Stereotypes of Power", organized by Praxis, took place on Wednesday, and the keynote speakers were Tracy Brabin, member of the parliament of the United Kingdom, and Katju Aro, leader of the Finnish Feminist Party and member of Helsinki city council.

Brabin called on women to support each other. "The advancement of women in politics depends to a large extent on cooperation and solidarity. Once we reach the top ourselves, we should ask ourselves who is the next woman to be encouraged in her quest for great achievements," she said.

At the conference, Merlin Nuiamae, an analyst at Praxis, presented a recent analysis of the media coverage of politicians through genderism. Mari-Liis Sepper, head of the Praxis equality policies program, talked about recommendations that will help achieve gender balance in representative bodies.

The project has been funded by the European Union Rights, Equality and Citizenship Program for 2014-2020, the National Foundation of Civil Society, the Ministry of Social Affairs and AS Swedbank.

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