D & E and CMIST seminar: Gendered Institutional Change: The Case of the Women and Equalities Committee in the UK Parliament
|Dates:||17 May 2017|
|Times:||16:00 - 16:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public|
|Speaker:||Prof. Sarah Childs|
Democracy and Elections, and CMIST joint seminar.
Change at Westminster is rarely easy. This is especially so when reforms are ‘effective’; when they affect the relationship between the executive and the legislature in the latter’s favour. This was the case with the establishment of the Women and Equality Committee in 2015 (WEC). Offering an explicitly feminist institutionalist account this paper contends that there was, as the traditional literature suggests, a moment of opportunity for reform of the UK parliament in the spring of 2015 but finds that this ripeness was notably gendered. The agency of three sets of actors were critical to the establishment of new gender equality infrastructure in the House of Commons: (i) women Members of Parliament from across the parties; (ii) women officials and clerks, not least those associated with the House’s Parliagender workplace equality network; and (iii) feminist allies beyond Westminster. These actors worked together, and with the Speaker who would provide important symbolic support, to persuade the Leader of the House to initiate the establishment of the Committee. The Conservative Government’s acceptance of the women’s claim for a WEC reflects in large part the fact that it filled an obvious institutional gap in the structure of Departmental Select Committees. It would also be chaired by a Conservative MP. That said, this re-gendering of the UK Parliament is best explained through recognizing a wider institutional transformation: unprecedented numbers of women MPs, acting cross party, worked with women clerks and officials in a Commons now formally committed to diversity and inclusion and with the associated institutional architecture that would constitute the conducive context in which the government would ultimately agree to an effective and feminist reform.
All welcome. No registration needed.
Tea/coffee from 3.50
Prof. Sarah Childs
Organisation: University of Bristol
Travel and Contact Information
2.07, CMIST Seminar Room
Humanities Bridgeford Street