The theory of ‘supply and demand’ in reference to female candidates is a prime explanation of how “The supply of suitably qualified candidates is another factor considered. In places where not enough qualified women come forward as candidates, it is impossible to achieve high proportions of women in parliament, even if the elite and voters would support more women in parliament. The potential supply of qualified candidates can be approximated by capturing the share of girls in secondary education, and particularly women’s involvement in the labour force.
(The Representation of Women in National Parliaments: A Cross-national Comparison Didier Ruedin) “Low levels of female participation in the legislature are thought to result from two factors: the “supply” of female candidates and “demand” for female candidates (Norris 1997; Randall 1987). Supply is determined by structural factors. Political elites are pulled disproportionately from the highly educated and from certain professions, such as law (Putnam 1976). Thus, if women do not have access to educational and professional opportunities, they will not have the human and financial capital necessary to run for office.
At the aggregate level, structural explanations predict that women’s educational achievements and women’s participation in the labor force will positively affect women’s levels of representation. Qualitative evidence supports the importance of structural factors. As a respondent from Southeast Asia in the IPU survey explains, “educated women (tertiary level) and professionals in their midthirties onward . . . form a pool from which candidates would be selected” (IPU 2000a:96–97). “(Women’s Political Representation: The Importance of Ideology)
This suggests that while improvements in women’s educational and professional status serve as facilitating conditions for women’s empowerment, structural changes by themselves may be insufficient for women to achieve greater success in winning elected office. Indeed, something more that the size of the eligibility pool is at work. ” (http://muse. jhu. edu/journals/journal_of_democracy/v012/12. 3norris. html) “Theories of socialization have long emphasized the importance of gender roles–especially the predominance of either egalitarian or traditional attitudes toward women in the private and public spheres.
Studies of political recruitment processes in established democracies like Britain, Finland, and the Netherlands have found that these attitudes influence both whether women are prepared come forward as candidates for office (the supply side of the equation) and the criteria that are used by political gatekeepers when evaluating candidates (the demand side). ” BOOK : Women, Politics, and Public Policy The Political Struggles of Canadian Women