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Who is Afraid of More Women in Politics, and Why? An Analysis of Public Opinion in 28 European Countries

Despite considerable progress in increasing women’s participation in politics over the past decades, women still remain under-represented in political life. In this paper, the authors study how individual and country-level variables interact in affecting political gender attitudes in Europe.

Dimiter Toshkov and Giulia Cretti
22 September 2023
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In the paper, the authors emphasised that they found very high levels of trust in women as political representatives, as well as support for more women in politics and legal measures to achieve gender parity. In fact, more people would trust a female as a political representative rather than a male than the reverse, especially among women themselves.

The authors highlight that men are significantly less likely to trust females as political representatives, agree that we need more women in politics and support legal measures to achieve parity even after controlling for their beliefs about the proper role of women in society and their (dis)interest in positions of political leadership. Another strong effect on political gender attitudes is the legacy of communism. This is especially the case among men living in the post-communist countries in Eastern Europe. 

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