Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-x

List of Figures

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pp. xi-xii

List of Tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

I was not born a feminist, and I did not grow up in a social milieu that encouraged feminist thinking. Two roads have intersected on my way to feminism. One is life with my spouse, Ze'ev, in a partnership that has enabled us to build a shared framework based on mutual respect, personal fulfillment in the private and public spheres...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

"Are you a feminist?" a woman who headed one of the lists in the 1989 municipal elections was asked. "No," she replied, "but I believe in equal opportunities and possibilities. I also believe that women should take their destiny in their hands." Her reply reflects the paradoxical situation of women in contemporary society, not least in...

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1. Women in Local Politics

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pp. 13-32

The primary justification for studying women in local government stems from the prevailing view that this is the political arena most suited to women. Indeed, the history of women's political representation shows that women tested the waters of local government before taking the plunge into politics at the national level. In England...

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2. Women and Politics: The Private/Public Split

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pp. 33-56

"My wife settles the small things, such as what to wear, what to eat, how to furnish the house, and which school the kids will attend. I settle the big things, foreign affairs, security policy, inflation, and devaluation." This old jest evokes a whole social universe. To begin with, it points to the separation between the private realm, the woman's domain...

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3. Role Conflict as an Ideology

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pp. 57-78

Because it is taken for granted that a woman's place is in the private sphere, it is also assumed that every move she makes into the public sphere will generate a conflict of roles. Family roles, like political ones, are time-consuming. Neither has fixed working hours; both tend to spread across the whole day and evening. When normative expectations...

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4. Have Your Cake and Eat It: Women Entering the Public Sphere

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pp. 79-110

The belief in role conflicts held by women, men, and scholars demands an explanation. Why do people think that women enter the public sphere only after fulfilling their obligations in the private sphere, when this is manifestly not the case? How come women are active on committees, in political parties, and in voluntary organizations...

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5. Exchange Rate for Women: Converting Resources into Political Power

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pp. 111-148

So far we have concentrated on exposing the major cultural mechanisms that exclude women from politics. The starting point for the chapters that follow is the existing political system and, specifically, the structure of opportunities available to women within the system and its changes over time. Which resources are available to the actors...

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6. Women and the Political Map

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pp. 149-170

Parties are the linchpin of Israeli politics. But is a certain type of party more congenial to women? Is it easier for them to get ahead in certain parties? A comparative perspective affords no definitive answer. Britain's Labor Party ran more female candidates for Parliament than the Conservatives, but in local...

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7. Local Community and Local Politics

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pp. 171-184

Of all public spheres of activity local politics is considered the most germane to women's interests and the most amenable to their skills, almost their "natural" habitat. "[Take] a working woman who is also a housewife, spouse, and mother, who day in and day out tends to education, cleaning, culture, quality of...

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8. Politics of Women or by Women?

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pp. 185-206

Women elected to local councils have made a clear decision: they have left the realm of voluntary public activity, which few of them regard as political in character, to enter the "true world" of politics. As competitors for a place on the list, as official candidates, and certainly once they have been elected, nearly all accept that they...

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9. Women at the Top

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pp. 207-236

It is a universal axiom that the fewer positions available, the greater the competition and the poorer women's prospects of success. A local council has only one chairperson, and the struggle for that seat is intense. Between 1950 and 1989 only eight women in Israel served as mayors or council heads: Hannah Levine...

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10. More than a Looking Glass: Women in Politics and the Media

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pp. 237-260

The media do more than hold up the mirror to sociopolitical processes; they are also one of society's mechanisms to strengthen and entrench the social order. The media play a significant role in the ongoing construction of gender discourse (Norris 1997; Ross and Sreberny-Mohammadi...

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Conclusion: Entrapped in a Gendered World

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pp. 261-272

This book addresses a general question that engages researchers investigating the place of women in Western society at the end of the twentieth century: what is the explanation for the meager representation of women in politics? After nearly a century of struggle for political equality, increasing entry of women into various public...

References

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pp. 273-284

Index

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pp. 285-292