Gender and Power in Local Politics
CIES ISCTE Lisboa, Portugal
This abstract is about the relation between gender and power in local politics. How far do the political attitudes of women differ from those of men? What are the barriers and challenges women face to pursue a political career? What do men think about women political participation in society? What are the consequences in the family of women with political career?
For decades, women struggled to obtain universal suffrage and the right to participate in society. And for ages, women were attached only to household and domestic tasks. Since 2003, in Portugal, women are 25% of the government, but are only 5% in local power.
Between 2005 and 2008, I developed a research for my master degree, orientated by Professor Analia Torres, in which I interviewed 12 of a total of 18 mayors in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, eight of them men and four of them women. These interviews allowed me to identify their social profiles, to understand how they perceived their gender, what were their political priorities to their council, what were their major difficulties in work care, their ideas and concerns about women participation in political life and what kind of leaders were each one of them: men and women.