Nominating Women for EP Elections: Exploring the Role of Political Parties’ Recruitment Procedures
26 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
The European Parliament (EP) is heralded as one of the most gender-equal elected bodies in the world. One the most important achievements of representation in the EP is the more egalitarian representation of women when compared to the member states’ lower houses. Several studies have found that the use of proportional representation (PR) in elections for the EP holds a large part of the explanation (Vallance and Davis, 1986, Freedman, 2002, Kantola, 2010). However our evidence suggests that despite the adoption of PR for all EP elections, electoral rules have only very limited impact on descriptive representation in the EP, which is in stark contrast to what can be observed in the composition of lower houses across Europe (Fortin-Rittberger and Rittberger, Forthcoming). In this paper, we investigate the effect of party nomination structures on women’s representation in the context of EP elections. Our findings suggest that the inclusiveness of the selectorates in the early stages of candidate selection processes is one of the key determinants of representativeness of lists in terms of their gender composition. Moreover, we find that neither territorial centralization nor the inclusiveness of the selectorate in the later stages of candidate selection play a significant role: They key to the puzzle therefore lies in the composition of the initial pool of potential candidates and those who nominated it.
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