The Influence of the Dynamics of Higher Education on the Gender Structure
4.1 On the (dis)connectedness of gender studies and higher education studies
Our point of departure is a fact confirmed by research and by general public perception: in relation to men, women are noticeably underrepresented in the division of social and political power and responsibility. This raises a series of questions, one of the most fundamental of which is: Why is this the case and what are the decisive contributing factors? Several earlier studies established a link between the proportion of women with higher education and the proportion of women in Parliament (e.g., Rule, 1996). Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart (2000, 9) summarise these studies as follows:
Early sociological accounts commonly regarded the social system as playing a critical role in determining the eligibility pool for elected office, including the occupational, educational and socioeconomic status of women. Accounts have emphasized the importance of the pool of women in the sort of related professional, administrative and managerial occupations like the law and journalism that commonly lead to political careers, providing the flexibility, financial resources, experiences and social networks that facilitate running for office […].
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