Women in Israel
Considers the cultural and structural limitations on the participation of women in politics
What are the cultural and structural mechanisms that exclude women from politics in general and from local politics in particular? What meaning is ascribed to women's political activity?
Gendering Politics explores the place of women in democratic politics by means of a detailed study of women in Israeli politics who were elected to municipal councils from 1950 to 1989. Drawing from a variety of sources, including questionnaires, interviews, newspaper coverage, and existing statistical data, as well as examinations of studies of the role of women in politics in other democracies, Herzog analyzes the extent of success and failure of women in Israeli elections. She then explores reasons why female participation in Israeli politics has been relatively slight, despite historical precedents and social circumstances that would indicate otherwise.
The author examines the gendered bias of the power structure as it is shaped by basic cultural organizing principles. She exposes hidden assumptions---and notes the overt assumptions---which by definition exclude women from politics. The author also looks at the structure of opportunities within the prevailing political system, uncovering the relevant blocking and facilitating elements.
Gendering Politics will be of interest to students and scholars of women's studies, Israeli studies, political sociology, and political science.
Hanna Herzog is Associate Professor of Sociology, Tel Aviv University.
Praise / Awards
"Herzog deftly deconstructs the Israeli gender role system, showing how it relegates women to a socially constructed sphere, defines politics in a totally masculinized way, and forces women who enter politics to define their roles as nonpolitical and as an extension of the feminine sphere of home, family, and voluntary organizations. . . . This insightful study is a welcome addition to the large body of material on women's political and social roles in comparative perspective."
--Emily Stoper, California State University, Hayward, American Journal of Sociology
"Since the early 1970s, feminist scholars at home and abroad have been busily exploding Israel's myth of gender equality. . . . Hanna Herzog's Gendering Politics: Women in Israel is a milestone in this endeavor. . . . [It] thus offers theoretical insight based on extensive empirical data which will most certainly provide the basis for future studies of women in Israel and expands theoretical literature on women and politics."
--Leah Simmons Levin, York University, Israel Studies Bulletin, Spring 2000
". . . a thoughtful and well-written analysis of women's involvement in local politics in Israel. . . . Herzog examines the distinctive character of local government and the ways in which women take advantage of its unique features to exercise political power. . . . Herzog's study is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which Israeli women have created a niche for themselves in a patriarchal political world."
--Esther I. Wilder, University of Oklahoma, Gender & Society, October 2000
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