When Do Men Represent Women’s Interests in Parliament? How the Presence of Women in Parliament Affects the Legislative Behavior of Male Politicians

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the conditions affecting male Members of Parliaments’ (MPs) proclivity for representing women’s interests. It particularly explores whether the presence of female MPs has an effect on men’s parliamentary behavior. Three contrasting effects are discussed in the literature: (1) A spillover effect which postulates that men will become more likely to act on behalf of women if the number of female MPs increases, (2) a group-threat effect which creates a hostile backlash among male MPs, or (3) a specialization effect which makes male MPs less likely to represent women because this is typically seen as a function that should be fulfilled by female MPs. Empirically, this paper analyzes the representation of women’s issues in parliamentary questions tabled in the German Bundestag (1998-2013) by using automated content analysis. The results support the specialization hypothesis and show that male MPs reduce their intensity of women’s representation if the proportion of female MPs is high.

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APA

Höhmann, D. (2020). When Do Men Represent Women’s Interests in Parliament? How the Presence of Women in Parliament Affects the Legislative Behavior of Male Politicians. Swiss Political Science Review, 26(1), 31–50. https://doi.org/10.1111/spsr.12392

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