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Jeanette Ashe (author)Elizabeth Evans (author)
'Gender, ethnicity and political representation in the UK and Canada'
European Conference on Politics and Gender.
Presentation embargoed pending a permission. Conference presentation delivered at the European Conference for Politics and Gender / ECPG, (June, 2017), in Lausanne, Switzerland. The extant literature on political representation demonstrates white men dominate political legislatures (Murray, 2014), whilst women and ethnic minorities are under-represented relative to their proportion of the population (Hughes, 2009). This pattern holds true for both the UK and Canada, although the UK House of Commons has moved closer to gender balance than Canada’s, while Canada’s House of Commons has moved closer to mirroring the country’s ethnic composition than has the UK. This paper longitudinally explores these representational differences. The research is underpinned by an intersectional analysis exploring the multiple ways in which gender and ethnicity interact at both the party level and in the national media. We argue the specific construction of ‘problematic’ political identities, influenced by the interaction between racialized and gendered stereotypes, makes it especially hard for ethnic minority politicians to become elected. Although the under-representation of ethnic minority women in the UK and Canada has attracted scholarly analysis, less attention has been paid to the ways in which gender and ethnicity interact to affect the representations of male and female ethnic minority politicians. Accordingly, this paper provides a multi-year comparative overview of ethnic minority descriptive representation in the UK and Canada and analysis of party responses to address ethnic minority under-representation.