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Gender and opinion–policy congruence in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2018

Stefanie Reher*
School of Government & Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK


Does public policy in Europe reflect women’s preferences equally well as men’s? This study compares the opinions of women and men with concrete policy on a set of 20 issues across a diverse range of policy areas in 31 European countries. It shows that the majorities of men and women frequently prefer the same policy. However, when they disagree, men’s preferences are more likely to be represented. Neither the proportion of women in parliament nor the left–right orientation of the government explains variation in women’s policy representation. Instead, a higher number of parliamentary parties increase the likelihood that policy reflects women’s views. This effect does not seem to be driven by left-libertarian politics or Green parties, even though women’s stronger support for ‘new politics’ issues is an important source of disagreement between men and women.

Research Article
© European Consortium for Political Research 2018 

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