You are here

Bringing Party Ideology Back In: Do Left-Wing Parties Enhance the Share of Women MPs?

October 2018

Andrés Santana , Susana Aguilar


This article examines how political parties affect the level of women’s representation in government, by looking at the share of women elected as regional members of parliament in Spain. The article states that political parties are gatekeepers of elected office in parliamentary systems. Therefore, gender parity can only be reached if the parties are on board. Left-wing (socialist and communist) parties tend to be thought of as those that value gender parity the most, but this study tests the truth of that. The study found that left-wing parties are better at increasing the share of women in parliament and electing new women, but that right-wing parties are actually better at retaining women in parliament once they are elected.

Read Now

Policy Implications

The article suggests that gender quotas may be the reason for this party difference. Left-wing parties are more likely to have gender quotas than right-wing parties. This suggests that gender quotas may help women to initially enter politics, but hurt their chances at staying. Reversely, the absence of quotas may make it harder to initially gain women’s representation, but it allows for the retention of elected positions for women. The article suggests that this may be because women elected without quotas in place are seen as more legitimate and worthy of serving. When considering implementing gender quotas, policymakers should consider these effects.

Find Similar General/Not Specific Research