Published: March 2016
Author(s): Paul Chaney

The present analysis heeds recent calls for a refocusing and reconceptualising of the substantive representation of women (SRW). It examines the parliamentary scrutiny of Westminster governments' legislative programmes. The findings show that whilst the proportion of SRW legislative proposals remains small (<1%), there has been a substantial increase in the amount of attention/visibility given to the SRW. Interventions are made by male and female parliamentarians (numerically more men; proportionately more women). Whilst the number of actors making such interventions has increased over time, the more striking finding is the increase in the substance and detail of interventions. This suggests: (a). the extent, quality and focus of SRW interventions is shaped by the interplay of 'critical actors' and overall presence of women parliamentarians; and (b). 'critical actors' need to be seen more in terms of the key role of particular individuals rather than all who act to bring about women-friendly policy change.

Keywords
Substantive representation of women, Parliament, Scrutiny, Legislative programme, Critical actor