What do feminists think of the fox?

Women choose

Gesine Fuchs

To person

is a qualified political scientist, works as a lecturer and project manager at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences - Social Work and is a lecturer at the Westphalian Wilhelms University of M√ľnster. [email protected]

In a representative democracy, members of parliament decide on public affairs of a state. Your election is the simplest and most widespread act of political participation for citizens. There would be no democracy without universal, free and equal suffrage: women's movements in the 19th and 20th centuries therefore also demanded women's suffrage.

Between the different currents of the women's movements, especially between bourgeois and proletarian organizations, it was thoroughly controversial whether women's suffrage should be demanded on the same terms as for men or whether universal, free and equal suffrage should be demanded for both sexes ] Historical research on Europe shows that the fight for women's suffrage was the result of multiple strategies and resources. [2] International networks were just as important as strategic alliances with other movements, for example for national independence or the democratization of the state. [3] Great upheavals such as wars and revolutions, subsequent efforts to cope with the consequences and the search for social cohesion were political windows of opportunity. In later years, international agreements such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) created pressure to introduce women's suffrage in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, for example.

The anticipated voting behavior of women has always been central to the historical debates about women's suffrage. It was suspected and feared that women would vote differently and weaken their own party - and that is why the law was often rejected. [4] Conversely, instrumental considerations could lead to political forces supporting women's suffrage, because women should ensure political stability or ethno-national majorities in new democracies. [5] This was accompanied by speculations about the political maturity, intellectual abilities or the "emotionality" of future voters.

After 100 years of women's suffrage in Germany, how can you answer the question of "women's choice"? What differences in voting behavior between the sexes were and are there? How can differences be explained? And to what extent does the participation of women contribute to their political integration? In the following, electoral research concepts are outlined that address the classic question "who votes whom why?" should answer. Changes in gender-specific voting behavior and possible explanations are the subject of the next section. The development in Germany is outlined on the basis of voting behavior in federal elections. More differentiated statements as to whether, how and why women and men vote differently are given by studies that deal with different systems of preference votes (in Germany only possible at state and local level), to which a further section is dedicated. Investigations into votes and referendums, i.e. direct democratic instruments, can ultimately provide information about differences in attitudes towards factual issues between the sexes.

Voting is just one form among many possibilities of political participation, which also includes participation in political parties, in civil society initiatives, in protests, boycotts or other forms of public statements. [6] Elections lead to political representation, which raises extensive questions from the point of view of gender equality: How many women and men are represented in parliament and government and on what this depends (descriptive representation), to what extent do they represent what kind of gender-specific interests (substantial representation) and Which ideas, norms and stereotypes of gender are conveyed in political practice (symbolic representation)? [7] Voting behavior is thus an important starting point for the general question of equal political participation and decision-making power. [8]