Women have traditionally been underrepresented among government ministers, and when included in cabinets have largely been relegated to "feminine" and low-prestige policy areas. Recently, however, some countries have witnessed changes in the number, gender, and/or prestige of women's appointments. What accounts for this variation in women's access to ministerial power? To answer this question, we posit three competing theoretical explanations: political institutions, social indicators of gender equality, and broader trends in women's political recruitment. To test these hypotheses, we compile an original dataset of 117 countries and construct a new measure'the Gender Power Score'which differentially weights cabinet positions based on women's numbers and the gender and prestige of the ministries to which they are assigned. Using a finite mixture model to evaluate competing hypotheses, we find that political variables'rather than social factors'have the strongest impact on gender parity in cabinets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science