10:50 - 12:30 Thursday, 22nd June, 2023

Location L&T Room 423

Track Comparative Politics

Presentation type Panel

256 Women Politicians


Despina Alexiadou
University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom


Mathias Poertner
London School of Economics, United Kingdom


Comparative Politics

CP02 Can she do the job? Empirical evidence for unequal legislative oversight activities of MPs towards women and men ministers

Corinna Kroeber1, Lena Stephan1, Sarah C. Dingler2, Camila N. Montero Trujillo2
1University of Greifswald, Germany. 2University of Innsbruck, Austria


While party gatekeepers’ prejudices towards women’s entrance to high-profile political posts attracted ample scholarly attention, considerably less is known about the challenges that women face if selected to an influential political post. This paper contributes to closing this research gap by answering the question as to what degree and why the oversight activities of MPs are influenced by the sex of ministers. We argue that women are overseen more tightly than men, because stereotypes about women’s inability to govern continue to shape the subconscious perception of women ministers by parliamentarians. To test this proposition, we study original data for the number, tone, and strength of questions of MPs to ministers in six European countries since the 1970s. The analysis focuses on instances of ministerial change between men and women within the same cabinet to uncover how the behavior of MPs adapts to the sex of the minister in charge. The results from a vector auto-regressive model suggest that MPs oversee women in government more thoroughly than men, albeit to varying degrees depending on their ideological stances.

CP02 Selecting and Ranking Female Candidates Under PR: Evidence from a Two-Stage Conjoint Experiment with Party Elites

Michael Jankowski1, Jochen Rehmert2
1University of Oldenburg, Germany. 2University of Zurich, Switzerland


Does gender affect candidate selection and list placement under proportional representation (PR)? Existing research argues that PR systems have a positive effect on women's representation due to a more inclusive candidate selection process. However, analyzing the actual process of candidate selection under PR before observing the final party-list is challenging and little is known about the preferences and strategies of party elites when selecting and ranking candidates. To address this problem, we conduct a novel two-stage conjoint experiment with party elites in Austria. The experiment allows us to analyze gendered patterns of candidate selection and list composition under PR. Our findings indicate that women have an advantage in the candidate selection process. However, a closer inspection reveals subtle, yet important, differences in gender selection preferences between male and female party elites. These findings have important implications for understanding patterns of female underrepresentation in PR systems.

CP02 Voter realignment in response to the selection of female lead candidates

Denis Cohen1, Werner Krause2
1University of Mannheim, Germany. 2University of Vienna, Austria


Women have become increasingly visible and influential in politics over the past 50 years. In this paper, we focus on the electoral effects of the feminization of party leadership by studying electoral realignment in response to the selection of women as party leaders and lead candidates. We argue that the effects of parties’ choice of personnel from underrepresented groups unfolds via two avenues: First, as a signal of inclusion, it may broaden parties’ appeal to liberal voters; secondly, by group-specific descriptive representation, it allows parties’ to appeal to voters from specific demographic groups. We test the dynamic effects of the selection of female lead personnel using three empirical approaches: Changes in parties’ vote shares, general and gender-specific patterns of vote switching in comparative perspective, and a series of quasi-experimental case studies using multi-wave pre-election surveys. By producing new and nuanced insights into the electoral effects of parties’ choice of lead personnel, our findings yield notable implications at the intersection of party politics, party competition, and representation.

CP02 Gendered Policy Making? Access of female MPs to legislative committees in German State Legislatures

Verena Fetscher1, Vera Troeger1, Philip Manow2
1University of Hamburg, Germany. 2University of Bremen, Germany


Much work has been done on the gender composition of parliaments but less is know about access and position of female MPs to/in parliamentary committees. These committees exert important policy-making powers in many parliamentary democracies. We show that access to committees is gendered, and women are less likely to become members and chairs of more important committees such as finance or economics. We argue that this gendered access is not merely explainable by factors such as competence, expertise and experience but also due to potential self-selection and discrimination. We propose theoretical and empirical ways to distinguish the two. We test our arguments with unique individual level data on MPs of the German Bundestag and state parliaments since 1948. Our results show that there is gender bias in access and composition of legislative committees that is somewhat mitigated by experience and expertise of MPs. Our results help linking aspects of descriptive representation of women and their ability to influence policy-decisions.

CP02 Coup attempts and women's representation in cabinet

Janina Beiser-McGrath1, Eda Keremoglu2
1Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom. 2University of Konstanz, Germany


Autocratic leaders have been shown to purge cabinets after surviving coup attempts but ministers that leaders perceive as loyal are more likely to be protected from these purges. We know little about how ministers' gender affects their likelihood to survive cabinet purges after unsuccessful coup attempts. We argue that leaders perceive female ministers to be less threatening and more loyal and are thus less likely to remove them in cabinet reshuffles following coup attempts. We test this argument using data from Whogov on cabinet members in 177 countries in 1966–2016. We also investigate whether coup attempts result in changes in the overall gender balance of cabinet and how persistent these changes are. Understanding the effect of coup attempts on female representation in cabinet in the short and long-term is important to understand the degree to which crisis situations and external shocks provide opportunities to increase women's access to positions of power.