Ticking Two Boxes, Fighting Two Battles: Intersectional Experiences of Ethnic Minority Women Councillors in UK Local Government

Neema Begum, Maria Sobolewska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When the analytical lens of intersectionality was first applied to descriptive representation, it documented the increased level of disadvantage for those belonging to more than one under-represented group. While ethnic minority women have been slow to benefit from drives to boost ethnic minority or women’s representation, increasingly, political parties seeking to diversify see them as ‘ticking two boxes’, resulting in a new positive story of relative representational success in many countries and legislatures. However, we argue that the two narratives co-exist: intersectional group membership mars the experience of ethnic minority women politicians despite their increased electoral success. Conceptualising intersectional disadvantage beyond examining differential outcomes, we focus instead on how the mechanisms leading to those outcomes are experienced by ethnic minority women local councillors, from their selection to their working conditions and extra representative burdens. Using 85 interviews with ethnic minority women and men UK local councillors, we demonstrate how gender and racial inequalities leave ethnic minority women fighting two (or more) battles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitics & Gender
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Descriptive representation; ethnic minorities; gender; intersectionality; local government

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