ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Women's Political Education: Developing Political Leadership in Canada and India

Abstract

This article reports on a recently completed study of women who are involved in formal and informal political roles in Canada and India (2008-2009). Our study is a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Society for Participatory Research in Asia. The intersections between feminist forms of adult education and the learning needs of women in political leadership in India and Canada are explored. The educational needs of each group are categorized and narratives analyzed to illustrate the complexity of the discourses that act to shape women’s political leadership identities and practices. We consider the similarities and differences between the countries, noting the persistence of gender based norms and expectations in both democracies and how these act as barriers to women’s participation in political life. Emerging from the idea of a politics of presence (Puwar, 2004), we offer political cross-dressing as a metaphor for feminist adult education practices that will enable a break through the civic ceiling women encounter in political spheres.

Catherine McGregor, Darlene Clover, Martha Farrell, Saswati Battacharya

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