Studies of women’s representation have often explored the link between women’s descriptive and women’s substantive representation in parliament, analyzing whether female representatives bring a unique – and often feminist– contribution to the representation of women’s interests. Recent studies however propose to apply a claim-based framework, leaving open how, why and by whom women’s substantive representation occurs (Celis et al. 2008). In this article, we put this new claim-based approach to the empirical test. More in particular, we consider its added value by studying the variety of claims made about women in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (1995–2007). We conclude that a claim-based framework indeed brings additional actors and perspectives to the fore, but that there are limits as to which claims can be formulated and by whom.
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