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Does the Descriptive Representation of Women Matter? A Comparison of Gendered Differences in Political Attitudes between Voters and Representatives in the European Parliament

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2016

Caroline McEvoy*
Affiliation:
Trinity College Dublin

Abstract

Studies expressing concern over the continued underparticipation of women in politics rest on the assumption that increasing the number of female representatives in democracies leads to greater substantive representation of women's policy interests. This article advances the discussion by conducting a comparative analysis of men's and women's attitudes across 27 countries in the European Union. Using the European Election and Candidate Studies 2009, I find that differences between the policy preferences of men and women in the EU do exist and that these differences are replicated between male and female candidates in European elections. The findings provide empirical support for the argument in favor of a greater gender balance in European policy-making institutions.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2016 

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References

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Does the Descriptive Representation of Women Matter? A Comparison of Gendered Differences in Political Attitudes between Voters and Representatives in the European Parliament
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