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Resisting Parity: Gender and Cabinet Appointments in Chile and Spain

  • Susan Franceschet (a1) and Gwynn Thomas (a2)

Presidents and prime ministers possess vast powers of appointment. These powers can be used to appoint cabinets with an equal number of male and female ministers. Parity cabinets make dramatic statements about gender, representation, and political power. They imply that gender balance—rather than just adding some women—is needed to overcome women's political marginalization. Cabinets with just a few token women are insufficient and undemocratic. Yet appointing women in the same proportions as men challenges a status quo in which men occupy most of the positions of power. Even when leaders possess the formal authority to appoint ministers, forming a parity cabinet means that some existing practices and norms, particularly the norm of male dominance, have been broken. Parity cabinets thus create the possibility of backlash from those who fear reduced opportunities for men to access powerful posts.

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
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