Campaigns as Gendered Institutions: A Case Study Between B.C. Premier and California Gubernational Campaigns

Michelle Irving


This paper will explore campaigns as gendered institutions using Acker’s framework of gendered organizations. Acker notes political institutions are defined by the absence of women, and campaigns are no different. This paper will explore two case studies: British Columbia’s 2017 Provincial Election and California’s 2010 Gubernational Race to identify how gendered institutions operate across electoral races. The framework of gendered institutions is applied by exploring how four components: the historical bias in job evaluation and candidate selection of the preferred “gender” traits; the decisions and procedures that control and construct hierarchies based on gender; the construction of symbols and gender ideology that give legitimacy to the institution and the process of “doing gender”. The case studies demonstrate that campaigns generally seem to be gendered in the same way with the exception of how campaign fundraising operates, which warrants further investigation. Additional research is needed to understand the extent to which campaigns as gendered institutions operate across political systems. 

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