Young women face gender-specific challenges that limit their political participation [LSE Blog]

Young women aged 18-24 are likely less to take part in elections than their male counterparts. 

As part of Democratic Audit’s series on youth participationJacqui Briggs explores the reasons for this, showing how women face specific barriers because of their gender and are under-represented throughout the system. She argues that politicians need to address issues that affect women’s lives such as the gender pay gap and domestic violence to show young women that politics is relevant to them.

Young women aged between 18 and 24 constitute the sector of the electorate least likely to vote. Given this fact, it is worthwhile focusing upon the political education of young women and girls per se to see if there are measures that can be taken to get them to engage more with mainstream politics. Why should the focus be upon young women in particular as opposed to young people as a generic grouping? Many young women appear as equally disconnected with mainstream party politics and participation in elections as their young male counterparts, and their attitudes and behaviours tie-in with the findings of the burgeoning literature on young people and politics. But while they are clearly interested in many political issues, young women often face gender-specific challenges that limit their political participation and democratic representation.

It has been widely acknowledged that the under-representation of women in formal politics highlights the continued gender stratification of political power…

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