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Forging Women's Substantive Representation: Intersectional Interests, Political Parity, and Pensions in Bolivia

  • Christina Ewig (a1)


Lacking tools to measure substantive representation, empirical research to date has determined women’s substantive representation by identifying “women’s interests” a priori, with little attention to differences across race, class, or other inequalities. To address this problem, I develop the concept of intersectional interests and a method for identifying these. Intersectional interests represent multiple perspectives and are forged through a process of political intersectionality that purposefully includes historically marginalized perspectives. These interests can be parsed into three types: expansionist, integrationist, and reconceived. Identification of intersectional interests requires, first, an inductive mapping of the differing women’s perspectives that exist in a specific context and then an examination of the political processes that lead to these new, redefined interests. I demonstrate the concept of intersectional interests and how to identify these in Bolivia, where I focus on the political process of forging reconceived intersectional interests in Bolivia’s political parity and pension reforms.



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I thank Bianet Castellanos, Alex Huneeus, Helen Kinsella, William Jones, Lorena Muñoz, Susan Ridgely, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback. I am grateful for a Vilas Associates Award from the University of Wisconsin–Madison that made this research possible, as well as for the women who agreed to be interviewed for this research.



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