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The Appointment of Women to Ministerial Positions across Europe: Presence, Portfolios and PolicyThe Appointment of Women to Ministerial Positions across Europe: Presence, Portfolios and Policy

Goddard, Dee (2019) The Appointment of Women to Ministerial Positions across Europe: Presence, Portfolios and PolicyThe Appointment of Women to Ministerial Positions across Europe: Presence, Portfolios and Policy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,.

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Abstract

More and more women are appointed to ministerial positions in Europe, across countries and political parties. Yet, there are significant gaps in our understanding of the factors which shape where and when women are appointed, and the impacts these appointments have on public policy. By considering the partisan dynamics and motivations of party leaders, I provide an insight into systematic variation in the number of women appointed to governments, the policy portfolios women are allocated, and the policy outcomes of women ministers on parental leave policy. This develops our understanding of women's access to government positions, which has important implications for how women are represented in the most powerful policy-making positions.

I develop a theoretical framework for the role of gender in ministerial selection and portfolio allocation by considering the policy, office and vote-seeking motivations of party leaders. Through a cross-national, time-series analysis over 45 years of European governments, I find that more women are appointed to European cabinets by left-wing parties, and by female party leaders. Women are better represented in cabinets in gender-progressive countries, and where party supporters have more gender-equal social attitudes. When women are allocated to the government, they are significantly less likely to be appointed to the 'core' offices of state, and 'masculine' and 'neutral' policy areas, but this is moderated by party ideology. I find that women are more likely to be appointed to 'masculine' portfolios where a party's voters have more progressive gender attitudes.

Considering the policy implications of women's appointment to ministerial positions, I examine the circumstances under which government reforms of parental leave for fathers follow the 'dual-earner/dual-carer' model of family policy. I find that women's active engagement in paid work is a necessary condition for the most gender-balanced forms of parental leave. The sufficiency pathways arising from a qualitative comparative analysis suggest that left-wing female ministers are 'entrepreneurial' in pursuing progressive family policy, while male right-wing ministers require pressure from public attitudes. The sufficiency pathway for leftist ministers also includes a left-dominated Parliament.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Morgan-Jones, Edward
Thesis advisor: Barnes, Lucy
Uncontrolled keywords: Gender, Governments, Politics Parties, Public Policy
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 14:10 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2019 03:11 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/77097 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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