When Less Means More: Influential Women of the Right ? the Case of Bulgaria

Authors: Ekaterina R. Rashkova & Emilia Zankina | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 19, April. | Date of publication: 2012

This paper investigates the commonly accepted belief that women's presence in political life and more specifically in parliament furthers the substantive representation of women. The hypothesis is examined within the context of Bulgaria. The conventional wisdom is challenged by the historical legacy of the Communist Party which included a sizeable number of women among its ranks, yet women with no particular voice. On the contrary, after the fall of the regime, parties of the Right while not staging women symbolically have born out several influential female politicians. In the absence of true conservatism and a real emphasis on gender issues yet, in comparison to Western democracies, this paper looks at the kernels of female political influence in Post-communist societies, where the symbolic representation of women within the former Communist Party has been complemented or even replaced by the rise of strong female leaders, in Bulgaria's case, within the political parties of the Right.

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