Governmental structures for the improvement of equal chances new representationforms and the democratic deficit: an international comparative research.

Project Details


This project aims to identify the specific mechanisms establihed in Belgium to represent women's interests in the state and examine, in a comparative international frame the degree to which they have had an impact on improving the political and social representation of women and indirectly affecting the democratic deficit. It will describe the impact of state structures on five specific issues that have been salient in the time period between 1975-1997, namely the formal representation of women in politics, and the issues of employment, abortion, the traffic in women and the 'new political culture' initiatives. The central question is to what extent Belgian special structures for women have had a specific impact on the public debate around these issues and how these structures enter into a systematic process of changing the patterns of representation of women's interests in politics and whether they do thereby affect the democratic deficit. The project analyses the available texts and other sources including interviews with key informants. The debate will be studied to describe the chronological development of issues and the influence relevant actors had on the discourse. The discours will be studied in terms of the changes in the frames of reference as the debate develops and the type, legitimacy and efficiency of participants. The qualitative text material will be approached using content analysis techniques supported by a computer package such as NUDIST (Stetson and Mazur 1996, Outshoorn 1996)
Effective start/end date1/10/9731/12/01


  • Comparative politics
  • genders studies
  • policy studies and analysis

Flemish discipline codes

  • Economics and business
  • Sociology and anthropology