This article assesses the pre-adoption, adoption, implementation and impact of party parity penalties established in 2002 to promote gender equality in the National Assembly. The analysis argues that while the penalties were implemented and increased over the years and had some success in enhancing women’s numerical representation, from 12.3% of all MPs in 2002 to 38.7% in 2017, rather than being “more than meets the eye,” the parity sanctions were actually far less. The limited scope and authority of the parity penalties and the gender-biased norms of key gatekeepers and political elites in the political parties and the high courts have circumscribed the extent of the progress in women’s numerical representation and the quality of that representation; women MPs in the National Assembly still remain marginalized in a variety of ways in comparison with their male counterparts. Thus, the outcome of the party parity sanctions, in GEPP terms, is “gender accommodation” over “transformation.”In the aftermath of the 2018 general election results, several scholars have remarked on the inability of the Five Star Movement to increase its vote in Milan. While the role of demographic and socio-economic factors has been highlighted, little attention has been dedicated to understanding the complex role of spatial dynamics. This paper aims to contribute to the existing literature by inquiring about the relationship between support for the Five Star Movement and the characteristics of urban space in Milan. Following the longstanding debate in urban sociology, we recognise the importance of investigating this question beyond the borders of the central municipality. We overcome the problematic nature of standard approaches by analysing the entire Functional Urban Area of Milan as defined by the Oecd, using a new set of areas. Adopting an ecological approach, we define our spatial units in such a way that they have a sociological meaning and embrace the characteristics of the local population which actually voted at a specific polling station. We regress support for the Five Star Movement in each electoral district on a range of demographic, socio-economic and spatial variables. The results show that more disadvantaged districts beyond Milan’s municipal borders have a strong propensity towards supporting the Five Star Movement. Many of these areas were negatively affected by the economic crisis of 2008 and continue to experience severe difficulties. They are not places of extreme marginality, but may be described as «disenfranchised» areas with many unsatisfied needs that are largely ignored by the traditional parties.
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