Gender politics dating
All this suggests a variety of possible directions for future research – some of which we hope to explore with others at a forthcoming roundtable on 19th September in London.
Donors and other would-be reformers often focus on changing formal institutional structures.
Examples include the high traditional chiefly title Fiame held by Samoa’s long-serving Deputy Prime Minister, Naomi Mata’afa; Dame Carol Kidu’s family connections through her husband and her reputation for working hard for her constituency and the nation of Papua New Guinea; and President Hilda Heine’s career and qualifications in education (she is the first Marshallese to earn a doctorate in education).
Our findings flesh out the insight that women generally are required to combine high levels of symbolic capital across fields if they are to be taken seriously in the political arena.
Bourdieu posited that three basic forms of capital (financial, social and cultural) operate in social fields such as politics (Bourdieu 1986).
When any of these forms of capital are socially legitimated or recognised, they become ‘symbolic capital’.
Klein argues that the elements required for revolutionary change—such as grievances, leaders, organization, and resources—were evident long before the 1960s.
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This is perhaps especially so when it comes to weighing up whether or not to intervene when solving someone else’s problem.
In thinking about insights we draw from the rich qualitative material collected for the Being the First research (Spark, Cox and Corbett 2018), we began to consider how the three successful women politicians we studied accrue various forms of social and cultural capital and convert it into political capital.
What was missing was a constituency to support feminist demands.