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As Leon writes, such an emphasis not only diverts attention from women's daily subjection to male pressure and power, but helps to divide women by portraying the victim of conditioning, albeit through no fault of her own, as irrational and thus inferior to her enlightened sisters (Leon, 1978). Male dominance and the economy The third type of explanation of male dominance emphasises its economic causes. Though the economy cannot simply be reduced to material relations of production, such an approach is clearly, like explanations centring on biological differences between the sexes, more 'materialist' than our second type of explanation.

The implications of these variations are discussed further below, but they do suggest that women's tendency to vote Jess than men is not inherent but contingent and transient. 38 Women and Politics Other conventional forms ofparticipation I have argued that the political significance of voting, both its impact and the individual commitment it requires, is usually slight. We need to examine more demanding forms of political participation. Although we can draw upon several systematic studies, information remains inadequate, patchy and still dependent on an unnecessarily limited view of what such participation includes.

Rates may be even higher in some East European countries - indeed, over 40 per cent of trade union members are women in the Soviet Union- but, with only the temporary exception of Poland, these states accord their unions little political independence. Overall, the evidence suggests that women's political participation, conventionally defined, is everywhere less than men's. Even so, a number of caveats are in order. The first is that political activism tends in any case to be a minority attribute.

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