Figurines and Doyennes: The Selection of Female Ministers in Autocracies and Democracies

64 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2022

See all articles by Jacob Nyrup

Jacob Nyrup

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Hikaru Yamagishi

Yale University, Department of Political Science

Stuart Bramwell

London School of Economics, Department of Methodology

Date Written: March 8, 2022

Abstract

Though governments historically have been a men’s club, women are increasingly gaining access. We argue that democratic institutions are important drivers of women’s inclusion in executive government. This stems from autocratic versus democratic leaders’ rationales when selecting ministers. Autocrats fear a coup by inner-circle elites, who mostly are men, incentivizing them to assign ministerial positions as co-optation. To the contrary, democratic leaders are accountable to the citizenry through elections, and have to satisfy increasing demands for gender equality. Furthermore, we argue that it is historical experience with democracy that matters, rather than the level, as it takes time to create an even playing field, change attitudes, and generate trust in democracy. To support this, we contribute the first study using the largest dataset, namely WhoGov, on women’s access to cabinets. Overall, we show that democracy is a process that enables women to gradually enter the highest echelons of power.

Keywords: autocracy, democracy, cabinets, gender, democratization

Suggested Citation

Nyrup, Jacob and Yamagishi, Hikaru and Bramwell, Stuart, Figurines and Doyennes: The Selection of Female Ministers in Autocracies and Democracies (March 8, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4052720 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4052720

Jacob Nyrup (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

Eilert Sundts hus 7th floor
Moltke Moes vei 31
Oslo, 0851
Norway

Hikaru Yamagishi

Yale University, Department of Political Science ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Stuart Bramwell

London School of Economics, Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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