Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 December 2014
Women's representation in national legislatures varies widely around the world. In 2012, only Rwanda and Andorra had achieved parity in women's representation in the national parliament, with 56% of the Rwandan Chamber of Deputies being female and exactly half the Andorran General Council represented by each sex. In many other countries, women still have little representation in the national legislature, despite being almost 50% of the population. A large body of research has emerged to try to explain the wide variation across countries, with most of it focusing on cultural, socioeconomic, and electoral explanations (e.g., McDonagh 2002; Norris 1985; Reynolds 1999; Rule 1987; Tripp and Kang 2008). Recent scholarship, however, has suggested that the legislature itself is a gendered institution that marginalizes women and argues for greater attention to understanding exactly how legislative institutions affect women's representation (Beckwith 2005; Chappell 2006; 2010; Duerst-Lahti and Kelly 1995; Hawkesworth 2003; 2005; Krook and Mackay 2011; Schwindt-Bayer 2010).