Gender, disability and political representation: understanding the experiences of disabled women

Elizabeth Evans, Stefanie Reher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Women face multiple barriers during political recruitment and representational processes. Concomitantly, a burgeoning scholarship has revealed the existence of various obstacles to elected office faced by disabled people. While studies have examined the intersections between gender, race and class, we know little about how the intersection between disability and gender shapes people’s experiences. This article provides an exploratory case-study analysis of the UK. We centre the perspectives of disabled women in our analysis, drawing upon qualitative interviews undertaken with 41 disabled women candidates, politicians and party activists, as well as participant observation of online events organised to discuss disabled women and elected office. Three themes emerged from this research: first, disabled women feel that they are perceived as ‘not up to the job’; second, disabled women are ‘othered’ during recruitment processes; and, third, hyper-visibility experienced by some, but not all, disabled women can be experienced positively but mainly negatively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Politics and Gender
Early online date28 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • gender
  • disability
  • disabled women
  • political recruitment
  • candidates
  • representation

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