Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 5
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Tunkis, Peter J. 2016. The Ties that Bind: Do Group Associations among Legislators Matter for Political Parties?. Problems of Post-Communism, p. 1.

    Allik, Mirjam 2015. Who stands in the way of women? Open vs. closed lists and candidate gender in Estonia. East European Politics, Vol. 31, Issue. 4, p. 429.

    Marcinkiewicz, Kamil and Stegmaier, Mary 2015. Ballot Position Effects Under Compulsory and Optional Preferential-List PR Electoral Systems. Political Behavior, Vol. 37, Issue. 2, p. 465.

    Giger, Nathalie Holli, Anne Maria Lefkofridi, Zoe and Wass, Hanna 2014. The gender gap in same-gender voting: The role of context. Electoral Studies, Vol. 35, p. 303.

    Górecki, Maciej A. and Kukołowicz, Paula 2014. Gender quotas, candidate background and the election of women: A paradox of gender quotas in open-list proportional representation systems. Electoral Studies, Vol. 36, p. 65.


Unexpected Winners: The Significance of an Open-List System on Women's Representation in Poland

  • Sheri Kunovich (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 13 June 2012

Scholars have debated the impact of open-list systems on women's representation. While some argue that open lists provide a unique opportunity for voters to overcome parties' bias against women, others argue that they create additional barriers. I examine several mechanisms that impact women's representation within Poland's open-list system. Results suggest that 1) voters shift women's original list placements positively across all parties over three elections; 2) these shifts are more pronounced when women's overall presence on the list and list placement are lower, regardless of party; and 3) positive shifts often result in the election of substantially more women than would have been expected. These findings add to our understanding of open-list systems by documenting variability in the effects of preferential voting across time and party in a postcommunist context. In addition, the unexpected positive effects of preferential voting in Poland add to a growing body of evidence that voters and parties on the center and right support female candidates at rates approaching or similar to parties on the left.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Sarah Birch , Frances Millard , Marina Popescu , and Kieran Williams . 2002. Embodying Democracy: Electoral System Design in Post-Communist Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

John M. Carey , and Matthew S. Shugart . 1995. “Incentives to Cultivate a Personal Vote: A Rank Ordering of Electoral Formulas.Electoral Studies 14: 417–39.

Christine Cheng , and Margit Tavits . 2011. “Informal Influences in Selecting Female Political Candidates.Political Research Quarterly 64 (2): 460–71.

Sarah Childs , Paul Webb , and Sally Marthaler . 2009. “The Feminisation of the Conservative Parliamentary Party: Party Members' Attitudes.Political Quarterly 80 (2): 204–13.

Cowell-Meyers . 2011. “A Collarette on a Donkey: The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition and the Limitations of Contagion Theory.” Political Studies. 59 (2): 411–31.

Joshua Kjerulf. Dubrow 2006. “Women's Representation in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, 1992–2005.International Journal of Sociology 36 (1): 95111.

Anne Maria Holli , and Hanna Wass . 2010. “Gender-Based Voting in the Parliamentary Elections of Finland.European Journal of Political Research 49 (5): 598630.

Mala N. Htun , and Mark P. Jones . 2002. “Engendering the Right to Participate in Decisionmaking: Electoral Quotas and Women's Leadership in Latin America.” In Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America, ed. Nikki Craske and Maxine Molyneux . London: Palgrave, 3256.

Krzysztof. Jasiewicz 2008. “The New Populism in Poland: The Usual Suspects?Problems of Post-Communism 55 (3): 725.

Lauri Karvonen . 2004. “Preferential Voting: Incidence and Effects.International Political Science Review 25 (2): 203–26.

Tatiana. Kostadinova 2002. “Do Mixed Electoral Systems Matter? A Cross-National Analysis of Their Effects in Eastern Europe.Electoral Studies 21 (1): 2334.

Tatiana. Kostadinova . 2007. “Ethnic and Women's Representation under Mixed Election Systems.Electoral Studies 26 (2): 418–31.

Mona Lena. Krook 2009. Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sheri. Kunovich 2003. “The Representation of Polish and Czech Women in National Politics: Predicting Electoral List Position.Comparative Politics 35 (3): 273–91.

Georg. Lutz 2010. “First Come, First Served: The Effect of Ballot Position on Electoral Success in Open Ballot PR Elections.Representation 46 (2): 167–81.

Radoslaw. Markowski 2006. “The Polish Elections of 2005: Pure Chaos or a Restructuring of the Party System.West European Politics 29 (4): 814–32.

Radoslaw. Markowski . 2008. “The 2007 Polish Parliamentary Election: Some Structuring, Still a Lot of Chaos.West European Politics 31 (5): 1055–68.

Michael. Marsh 2007. “Candidates or Parties? Objects of Electoral Choice in Ireland.Party Politics 13 (4): 500–27.

Richard E. Matland , and Kathleen Montgomery . 2003. Women's Access to Political Power in Post-Communist Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Frances. Millard 2006. “Poland's Politics and the Travails of Transition after 2001: The 2005 Elections.Europe-Asia Studies 58 (7): 1007–31.

Robert C. Moser 2001. “The Effects of Electoral Systems on Women's Representation in Post-Communist States.Electoral Studies 20 (3): 353–69.

Pamela Paxton , Melanie M. Hughes , and Matthew A. Painter II. 2010. “Growth in Women's Political Representation: A Longitudinal Exploration of Democracy, Electoral System and Gender Quotas.European Journal of Political Research 49: 2552.

Tapio Rauino . 2007. “Open List, Open Mandate? Links Between MEPS and Parties in Finland.Perspectives on European Politics and Society 8 (2): 131–46.

Rob. Salmond 2006. “Proportional Representation and Female Parliamentarians.Legislative Studies Quarterly 31 (2): 175204.

Steven. Saxonberg 2000. “Women in East European Parliaments.Journal of Democracy 11 (2): 145–58.

Gregory. Schmidt . 2009. “The Election of Women in List PR Systems: Testing the Conventional Wisdom.Electoral Studies 28 (2): 190203.

Goldie Shabad , and Kazimierz M. Slomczynski . 2004. “Inter-Party Mobility among Parliamentary Candidates in Post-Communist East Central Europe.Party Politics 10 (2): 151–76.

Manon. Tremblay 2008. Women and Legislative Representation: Electoral Systems, Political Parties, and Sex Quotas. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Manon Tremblay , and Rejean Pelletier . 2001. “More Women Constituency Party Presidents: A Strategy for Increasing the Number of Women Candidates in Canada?Party Politics 7 (2): 157–90.

Carmen Ortega. Villodres 2003. “Intra-Party Competition under Preferential List Systems: The Case of Finland.Representation 40 (1): 5566.

Jocelyn Viterna , Kathleen M. Fallon , and Jason Beckfield . 2008. “How Development Matters: A Research Note on the Relationship between Development, Democracy, and Women's Political Representation.International Journal of Comparative Sociology 49 (6): 455–77.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *