The Gendered Effects of Electoral Institutions: Political Engagement and Participation

ISBN : 9780199608607

Miki Caul Kittilson; Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer
190 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Oct 2012
Comparative Politics
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In most countries around the world, women continue to lag behind men in an array of political orientations and activities. Understanding why this is the case and why some countries have been more successful than others at moderating gender gaps in political involvement is imperative for producing stronger and more representative democracies. Cultural, socioeconomic, and political factors explain some of the gender gaps in political involvement, but not all of them. In this book, the authors argue that electoral institutions attenuate gender gaps in mass political engagement and participation by drawing women, an 'undertapped' constituency, into the democratic process. Using cross-national and country-specific analyses, the authors show that electoral institutions play a complementary and significant role in reducing gender gaps in political involvement. The cross-national analyses draw on comparative survey data from a wide range and large number of countries. The case studies draw out the processes underlying changes in political attitudes and behaviors with evidence from four country studies: New Zealand, Russia, France, and Uruguay. All four countries have altered their electoral institutions, either through large-scale reform of the electoral system itself or adopting gender quotas, allowing the authors to examine patterns of political involvement pre- and post-reform. The book finds that inclusive electoral systems that produce more proportional electoral outcomes have larger effects on women's political engagement and participation than on men's. Gender quotas also mediate women's engagement and participation, but to a lesser degree. On the whole, the book concludes that electoral rules designed to promote social inclusion in parliament are critical for promoting social group inclusion among the electorate. Comparative Politics is a series for students, teachers, and researchers of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterised by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit: www.ecprnet.eu. The Comparative Politics Series is edited by Professor David M. Farrell, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Kenneth Carty, Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia, and Professor Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Institute of Political Science, Philipps University, Marburg.


1. Introduction: Gender Gaps on a Global Stage
2. A Theory of Electoral Institutions and Gender
3. Political Engagement, Institutions and the Gender Gap
4. Political Participation, Institutions and the Gender Gap
5. Electoral Reform and the Gender Gap in New Zealand and Russia
6. Gender Quotas and the Gender Gap in France and Uruguay
7. Conclusions: The Gendered Effects of Electoral Institutions
Appendix A: Sample Selection, Description of Variables and Modeling
Appendix B: Marginal Effects Tables for Interaction Terms in Chapters 3 and 4
Appendix C: Full Regression Models for Chapters 5
Appendix D: Regression Models for Chapter 6

About the author: 

Miki Caul Kittilson's research focuses on political parties, political behaviour, and women in politics in a comparative perspective. She had published articles in such journals as American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Party Politics, International Organization, and Politics & Gender. In 2006, she published her first book, Challenging Parties, Changing Parliaments: Women in Elected Office in Contemporary Western Europe in the Parliaments and Legislatures Series with the Ohio State University Press. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. ; Leslie Schwindt-Bayer's research interests include comparative politics, political institutions, gender and politics, and women's representation, often focused on Latin America. She has published her research in several journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Electoral Studies, Comparative Political Studies, and Politics & Gender. In 2010, she published her first book, Political Power and Women's Representation in Latin America, with Oxford University Press. She is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri.

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