able to influence the political agenda and shape public policy, and often areas of interest and concern to women fall within the jurisdiction of these portfolios.
During the past quarter of a century there has been a sexual revolution in Australian politics, during which women have obtained positions of power in the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government.This sexual revolution in the broader political world has driven research in gender politics and established the study of women as a legitimate area of scholarly inquiry. By the 1990s the field of gender politics within Australian political science was well established. Now most university social-science units have faculty who teach and undertake research in gender politics, and there are interdisciplinary gender studies majors.
Feminist scholarship has pursued two different yet complementary avenues. First, it has rewritten history to include the role and contribution women have made to Australian political history since before federation and chronicled the issues, ideas and strategies over which women struggled.The feminist scholars' gendered analyses reveal the way in which political power arrangements subordinated women. Second, scholars have examined the contemporary issues of women's participation in politics as voters, candidates and parliamentarians, and documented the factors influencing their participation, and the responses of the electorate, political parties and governments to women's increasing presence on the political landscape.Today, political parties present policy platforms designed to attract women's support and cultivate the 'women's vote'.
Overall, these two avenues of gender politics research demonstrate that women – from outside government as voters and in organised women's groups, and from inside the political parties, the bureaucracy and parliament – are making a difference to politics in Australia.
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