Worldwide, more women than ever before participate in politics, be it as candidates, Members of Parliament, cabinet members or - in some countries - heads of state. Yet, despite these advances, gender parity remains elusive in most countries across the world. The lack of gender parity in politics is a concern from the perspective of justice, equality and fairness, but also has consequences for the substantive representation of women’s interests in public policy making. As such it is crucial to understand the potential causes of women’s under-representation and the barriers faced by women candidates and politicians.
The proposed project examines how perceptions of women in politics as well as attitudes about gender roles affect the participation and representation of women in politics. Example research questions that the project seeks to examine are the following: whether voters see women candidates as less electable, whether voters hold women candidates to different standards and whether women politicians are less likely to be re-elected. In all cases specific attention will be paid to intersections between gender, race, social class and sexuality. As such, specific case studies may be conducted to examine experiences of and attitudes toward women of colour or queer/non-binary individuals in politics.
The project will rely on the use of observational and experimental data. Observational data-sets that may be used are the British Election Study or the British Social Attitude Survey. International or comparative data-sets such as the American Election Study or the World Value Survey may also be used. In addition to the use of observational data the project will include the design and implementation of online survey experiments that are focused on the specific research questions the project seeks to address. The project would offer scope for qualitative methods (interviews, case studies) as well if desired.
The project supervisor has extensive experience in the field of gender & politics, survey design and experimental political science. Geographically the PI is interested in the U.K., Western Europe and Anglo-Saxon countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Applications received before the 15th of December will, if eligible, be considered for a SeNSS studentship. For details of the studentships, which include tuition fees, a Research Council rate stipend and access to world-class training, see http://www.reading.ac.uk/graduateschool/funding-and-fees/gs-senss-info.aspx.