Politics and Gender Practices in the Pacific Islands: A Review and Agenda

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    The everyday practice of politics is often difficult for the outside observer to understand and interpret. It is also gendered. In the study of women and politics in the Pacific, much attention has been given to women’s under-representation as candidates and representatives, but far less to the gendered norms and structures that affect how politics actually works. This article makes the case for a research agenda on gendered practices. It contends that in the Pacific, as elsewhere, political spaces are overwhelmingly conceptualised as masculine, and this creates a constraint on feminised political expression. Everyday gendered political practices exclude and marginalise female political actors, impacting on the descriptive and substantive representation of women and entrenching broader gender inequalities. There is much scope for future research in this space, and the article makes the case for five key research strands that, taken together, could contribute to our understanding of political practice in the Pacific. I suggest the use of political ethnography is the most useful method for shedding light on the gendered practice of politics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)359-374
    JournalSmall States and Territories
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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