Review by Choice Review
Chapman's brilliant and unconventional book deserves a wide readership. She argues, first, that women's representation among political elites depends largely on the extent to which women have the resources that men in that particular system value; second, that women also have a distinctive role in reproduction and thus a distinctive voice and set of interests underrepresented in any system designed around men's role, voice, and interests; third, that these interests are themselves divided, because women want both shared parenting and support for women's single parenting; fourth, that women attempting to achieve political influence are caught in various double binds, not only that of assimilation or self-assertion, but also that of which of women's divided interests to represent and how. Chapman musters an impressive range of evidence, from the differences in the opportunity structure for men in political systems as diverse as Scotland and the former Soviet Union as explanations for the marginalization of women, to critical analysis of the political programs of the women in the Green party in Germany, the Woman's List in Iceland, and the Norwegian Parliament, to a reconsideration of classic feminist theorists from De Beauvoir and Mead to Firestone and Rich. There is wild profusion of theoretical insight, comparative empirical evidence, and practical strategic considerations. Scholars in the field of gender politics, widely understood, should consider this essential reading. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty; professional. M. M. Ferree; University of Connecticut
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.