When women backbenchers participate in Question Period and Private Members’ Business, are their interventions gendered? Are they more likely than men to address stereotypically feminine issues and less likely to address stereotypically masculine issues? In this article, the authors investigate these questions by analyzing all of the interventions in Question Period and Private Members’ Business by backbenchers in the 42nd Parliament between September 16 and December 13, 2018. Using software to code the interventions, they determined that the gendered division of labour on stereotypically feminine issues was much more evident in Question Period than Private Members’ Business. While women were no less likely than men to address stereotypically masculine issues, they were more likely than men to intervene on matters considered stereotypically feminine. The authors conclude that judging what these patterns of gendered interventions mean for our political culture and institutions depends on a person’s perspective.
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Drawing from several chapters contained in Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up: Perceptions and Performance, in this article Elisabeth Gidengil and Heather Bastedo examine citizens’ evaluations of their elected representatives and assess several key aspects of MPs’ performance in light of these evaluations. Noting some possible reasons for a disjuncture between citizens’ perceptions of MPs and how MPs perform their representational roles, the authors suggest some possible avenues for improving MPs’ public image.
Satisfaction with the way democracy works in Canada lags behind a number of other established democracies. In fact, only a bare majority of Canadians (55 per cent) are satisfied with the country’s democratic performance, placing Canada in 11th place among 20 countries in which the same question was posed.1 Moreover, dissatisfaction with the way democracy works in Canada has grown in recent years. Canadians appear to be particularly displeased with the performance of their MPs.2 But is their dissatisfaction warranted?
Continue reading “Perceptions and Performance: How Do MPs Shape Up?”