Candidate Selection Gender and Politics Representation of Women Electoral Politics
Taylor and Francis
Gail McElroy and Michael Marsh, Electing Women to the Dáil: Gender Cues and the Irish Voter., Irish Political Studies, 26, 4, 2011, 521 - 534
Irish Political Studies; 26; 4;
At no time in history has the number of women elected to Dail ireann surpassed
14 per cent of the total membership. In spite of significant social changes, the use of a proportional
electoral system and no obvious bias among voters, the number of female TDs
remains stubbornly low by international standards. This paper examines why, if the prospects
for women’s election are relatively good, so few women end up in public office. Using both
aggregate and survey data, the issues of incumbency advantage, the electorate’s attitudes
and the candidates’ differing experiences of the political process are explored. The evidence
suggests that, all else equal, female candidates have as good a chance of being elected as
their male counterparts, and the real difficulties in achieving equitable representation lie elsewhere,
in the candidate emergence and nomination stages of the election game.
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