Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Entering the men's domain? Gender and portfolio allocation in European governments

Goddard, Dee (2018) Entering the men's domain? Gender and portfolio allocation in European governments. European Journal of Political Research, . ISSN 0304-4130. (doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12305) (KAR id:70574)


While all government portfolios used to be the purview of men exclusively, more and more women are selected to sit around the cabinet table. But under which circumstances do women get appointed to different ministerial portfolios? This article, proposes a theoretical framework to consider how party leaders’ attitudes and motivations influence the allocation of portfolios to male and female ministers. These propositions are tested empirically by bringing together data on 7,005 cabinet appointments across 29 European countries from the late 1980s until 2014. Considering the key partisan dynamics of the ministerial selection process, it is found that women are significantly less likely to be appointed to the ‘core’ offices of state, and ‘masculine’ and ‘neutral’ policy areas. However, these gender differences are moderated by the ideology of the party that allocates them. Women are more likely to be appointed to ‘masculine’ portfolios when a party's voters have more progressive gender attitudes. This theoretical framework and analysis enhances our understanding of women's access to the government, which has important implications for how ministers are selected, as well as how women are represented in the most powerful policy?making positions in Europe.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1475-6765.12305
Uncontrolled keywords: executives; gender; government formation; portfolio allocation; women in politics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: R.L. Goddard
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 12:32 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 22:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Goddard, Dee.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.