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Selecting Women, Electing Women

Political Representation and Candidate Selection in Latin America

Magda Hinojosa

Publication Year: 2012

Selecting Women, Electing Women is a groundbreaking book that examines how the rules for candidate selection affect women’s political representation in Latin America.  Focusing particularly on Chile and Mexico, Magda Hinojosa presents counterintuitive assumptions about factors that promote the election of women. She argues that primaries—which are regularly thought of as the most democratic process for choosing candidates—actually produce fewer female nominees than centralized and seemingly exclusionary candidate selection procedures.

Hinojosa astutely points out the role of candidate selection processes in explaining variation in women’s representation that exists both across and within political parties. Selecting Women, Electing Women makes critical inroads to the study of gender and politics, candidate selection, and Latin American politics.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

This book would not have been possible without the generosity of the many women and men in Chile and Mexico who shared their stories with me. All of them taught me so much—from national political elites with decades of experience to newly minted municipal council members who had never faced an interviewer’s questions...

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1. Electing Women: Female Political Representation in Latin America

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pp. 1-20

In March 2006, Michelle Bachelet was sworn in as president of Chile. The following year neighboring Argentina also elected a woman to the presidency: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in December 2007. These women seemed to have little in common. Bachelet had never held elected office prior to beginning...

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2. Why Selection Matters: Explaining Women’s Representationin Politics

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pp. 21-41

Women’s political underrepresentation results from bottlenecks at different points in the process of becoming an officeholder. There are four stages in this process, as Figure 2.1 illustrates.1 Stage 1 marks the move from being a part of the general population to becoming an eligible (anyone who is legally allowed...

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3. How Selection Matters: A Theoretical Framework

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pp. 42-55

The discussion of the four stages on the path to office holding in Chapter 2 focuses on the first and last stages. The chapter’s analysis of the first stage debunks supply explanations that blame women’s underrepresentation on a lack of “qualified” women to run for office. The data presented on marriage, fertility, education...

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4. The Paradox of Primaries: Inclusive-Decentralized Selection

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pp. 56-79

Political primaries have been adopted en masse in recent years (see Field and Siavelis 2008 for examples from across the globe and Alcántara Sáez 2002 for information about Latin America) in response to the consensus that primaries are a means of increasing “openness and internal party democracy, and therefore normatively...

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5. Inclusive-Centralized and Exclusive-Decentralized Selection

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pp. 80-98

Despite the growing use of inclusive-decentralized selection procedures, in particular primaries, for choosing candidates, parties continue to routinely select candidates using processes that are inclusive-centralized or exclusive-decentralized. These two types of candidate-selection procedures are on opposite ends of Figure 3.2, meaning that they each allow women to avoid one of the two...

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6. “Less Democratic, but More Effective”: Exclusive-Centralized Selection

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pp. 99-116

Through her own “personal force,” Evita Perón was able to augment Argentine women’s representation in Congress, making Argentina the world leader in women’s congressional representation in the mid-1950s (Jones 1996: 77). U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson significantly increased his appointment of women after hearing...

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7. Selecting Candidates Closer to Home: Widows, Wives, and Daughters

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pp. 117-135

Chapter 1 began with the story of Cristina Fernández, who succeeded her husband to become president of Argentina in 2007. Fernández had been active in politics since joining the youth wing of the Peronista Party in the 1970s. After the return to democracy...

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8. Altering Candidate Selection: The Adoption and Implementation of Gender Quotas

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pp. 136-150

More than two-thirds of Latin American countries have adopted gender quotas since 1991, radically altering selection procedures to set aside a portion of candidacies for women; well-written quota laws have had dramatic results. Table 8.1 provides information on nationally mandated quotas in Latin America...

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9. Candidate Selection and Women’s Representation in Latin American Politics

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pp. 151-170

This book began with the stories of Cristina Fernández’s and Michelle Bachelet’s paths to the presidencies of their respective nations. These accounts illustrate that candidate selection is instrumental to understanding women’s representation: the selection stage can be more important than the election stage. Candidate selection...

Appendix A: Latin American Women’s Representation by Party

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pp. 171-176

Appendix B: Interviews

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pp. 177-180


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pp. 181-198


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pp. 199-218


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pp. 219-230

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About the Author

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p. 231-231

Magda Hinojosa is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. She has received awards from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations...

E-ISBN-13: 9781439908495
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439908488

Page Count: 226
Publication Year: 2012