Doing politics differently? Applying a feminist institutionalist lens to the U.K. Women's Equality Party

Elizabeth Evans, Meryl Kenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The U.K. Women's Equality Party (WEP) was established in 2015 to “bring about change by winning—support, votes and seats.” It has thus far recruited tens of thousands of members and run candidates in European, national, devolved, and local elections. This article provides one of the first empirical analyses of this new actor in U.K. politics. Adopting a feminist institutionalist lens, we examine the extent to which WEP “does things differently” by looking at its discourse, formal party rules, and informal ways of doing things “on the ground.” Drawing on a set of semistructured interviews, observations of local and national party meetings, and document analysis, we argue that while WEP has to some extent tried to set up alternative participatory structures and new “ways of working,” it has also at times fallen back on more traditional, centralized, and hierarchical modes of party organizing, as well as informal practices that are more typically associated with male-dominated parties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-47
JournalPolitics & Gender
Volume16
Issue number1
Early online date4 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • women's parties
  • political parties
  • U.K. politics
  • feminist institutionalism
  • feminism

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