The paper contributes the introductory reflection on the structuring of Slovenian society and gender as the structured and the structuring structure. The authors explain, that readdressing the question of how (contemporary) societies are structured (producing and reproducing the existing relations) and how they change, we cannot but reflect on the almost eternal sociological questions and dilemmas, such as: Which is more important, structure or action, supra-individual complex units or agents? Who conditions whom? Do structures establish the conditions for individuals’ actions or do individuals create structures through their actions? Those who have addressed these issues have tended to place themselves on one or the other side of these dilemmas. The author contextualizes the above questions through important sociological theorists, such as Giddens, Bourdieu, Marx, Connell, Wacquant, etc.
The point of departure in this paper is a fact confirmed by research and by general public perception: in relation to men, women are noticeably underrepresented in the division of social and political power and responsibility. This raises a series of questions, one of the most fundamental of which is: Why is this the case and what are the decisive contributing factors? In view of the fact that we are dealing with a complex set of issues, it is not possible to attribute this phenomenon as a whole to a single factor; however, factors that have been shown to be more important should be treated in more detail, but in this chapter the author focuses on a specific question: Can higher education or the higher education system and the changes within it contribute to this, and, if so, to what extent or in what way? Given that the notion of higher education will not only be considered as a statistical indicator in population analysis but in a wider context, we can further broaden the question: To what extent can movements, trends and structural changes in contemporary higher education contribute directly or indirectly to this phenomenon?
Consideration of the inclusion of women in politics in Slovenia gains clarity when it becomes part of the socially embedded reflection of space and time, of the formation, shifts and persistence of their rationalities (Weber 1978; Bourdieu 1986, 1992; Foucault 2009). On this background, we will, in the present text, first survey the essential characteristics of the restructuring of Slovenian society within the processes of the structuring of Western societies. In the second part of the text, we will discuss the place of politics in Slovenian society, concluding with an outline of the fundamental structural questions that, on the backgrounds treated, concern the decision of women to enter politics.
In the paper the authors raise the questions: Where do the reasons lie for the low participation of women in Slovenian politics? Why is it that highly educated, economically independent women, who are working full time and are relatively successful in their professions and workplace, cannot find their way to positions of political decision-making? What type of obstacles hinder this step and where are they located? What is the role played in this regard by the broader cultural context? What is the role of the prevailing social norms, values, convictions, myths, stereotypes and everyday practices that are identifiable in Slovenian society and/or how have these changed in recent decades? In considering the above questions, the authors focus on the trends and changes of the past few decades in Slovenia.
In the article the authors explain, that although important shifts can be observed regarding the position of women in the area of employment in Slovenia in the last ten years (particularly the high representation of women in the labour market, increased full-time employment, and the breaking through of women into particular “prestige” fields, such as law, journalism and the university), women still have not yet achieved appropriate positions in the labour market. In the present chapter, the authors seek to determine whether, and if so which, structural shifts in the area of paid work have, in the last ten years, contributed to our being able to speak about a pool of suitable female candidates for entry into politics in Slovenia.