New Institutions, New Actors, New Rules: Gender Parity and Feminist Constitution Writing in Chile

Jennifer Piscopo, Julieta Suárez-Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formal and informal rules mediate the relationship between descriptive and substantive representation. Women may be present in office but struggle to influence outcomes in the same way as their male counterparts, especially because parliaments and parties carry masculine blueprints that limit women's individual and collective power. Yet what happens when new institutions incorporate new actors to write new rules, and when women occupy these institutions under gender parity from the start? Using participant-observation and interview data from Chile’s first constitutional convention, we analyse how gender parity and newness combined to give ‘feminist designers’ significant influence over the convention’s procedural rules and, consequently, the final document. Newness and parity helped women secure the adoption of a feminist procedural code, which eliminated many of the masculine blueprints found in traditional parliaments. In turn, women delegates organised explicitly as feminists and led the redaction of a thoroughly feminist document.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Journaleuropean journal of politics and gender
Early online date12 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2024

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