Abstract

This article reports the results of a survey of women in legislatures and executives around the world as they were constituted in 1998 (N = 180). The chief hypotheses regarding the factors hindering or facilitating women's access to political representation were tested by multivariate regression models. The regression models juxtaposed a cocktail of institutional, political, cultural, and socioeconomic variables with the following dependent variables: (1) the percentage of MPs who are women and (2) the percentage of cabinet ministers who are women. A number, although not all, of the cited hypotheses were statistically confirmed and more finely quantified. The socioeconomic development of women in society has an effect on the number of women in parliament but not in the cabinet. A country's length of experience with multipartyism and women's enfranchisement correlates with both the legislative and the executive percentage. Certain electoral systems are more women friendly than others. The ideological nature of the party system affects the number of women elected and chosen for cabinet posts. And last, the state's dominant religion, taken as a proxy for culture, also statistically relates to the number of women who will make it to high political office. However, other long-held hypotheses were not proved. The degree of democracy is not a good indicator of the percentage of women who will make it into the legislature or the cabinet, nor is the dichotomy between a presidential or parliamentary system.

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3338
Print ISSN
0043-8871
Pages
pp. 547-572
Launched on MUSE
1999-07-01
Open Access
No
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