Wäckerle, Jens ORCID: 0000-0002-5108-7711 (2021). The Representation of Women in European Politics. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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The descriptive representation of women has increased greatly over the last decades. This thesis argues that political parties face different incentives when choosing to include women. First, internal pressures can lead to the establishment of quota systems that change the way in which a party nominates candidates. Second, the public perception of gender representation in parties influences that decision as well, with many voters strongly disliking all-male parties. Third, women in parliament act very differently from men: They talk about different issues and push policy-making in a different direction. Fourth, women in parliament are forming cosponsorship networks to influence policy and overcome underrepresentation. In the first paper of this cumulative dissertation, I look at the nomination of female candidates in the UK. The UK Labour party introduced All-Women-Shortlists which greatly increased the number of women among their MPs, a strategy that women’s interest groups in the party pushed for. Meanwhile, the Conservatives did not achieve a similar effect, even though party leadership has publicly campaigned for more women among their MPs. In the second paper, I use a survey experiment to measure preferences of voters for equal representation among MPs in political parties. The results show that voters strongly dislike gender-unequal parties. While parties can even out the negative perception of male-dominated groups of MPS by having a female leader, these findings give a strong indication that it would be beneficial for parties to have gender-equal groups of MPs. In the third paper, my co-author and I use speech data to see whether women and men speak differently in parliament. We find that not only can machine learning algorithms distinguish men and women speaking, the words that distinguish them are mostly policy-related. Additionally, these differences are larger in policy areas that are more important to female voters. Finally, in the fourth paper, I use cosponsorship data from across Europe to show that women are more active cosponsors of legislation than men, they are more likely to cosponsor with other women, and they do so especially when there are few women in parliament. Women use cosponsorship to overcome underrepresentation especially when party constraints are low.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Wäckerle, Jensjens.waeckerle@uni-koeln.deorcid.org/0000-0002-5108-7711UNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-617563
Date: 25 October 2021
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Management, Economy and Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Political Science > Cologne Center for Comparative Politics
Subjects: Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Women in politicsEnglish
Frauen in der PolitikGerman
European PoliticsEnglish
Comparative PoliticsEnglish
Date of oral exam: 7 February 2022
NameAcademic Title
Proksch, Sven-OliverProf. Dr.
Rohlfing, IngoProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/61756


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