Pathways to power: Women's Representation in the 2014 European Parliament elections

Maarja Luhiste, Meryl Kenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The 2014 European Parliament (EP) elections produced a record proportion of women MEPs overall (37 per cent). Yet, these results vary widely across countries and parties. This article aims to explain these variations, evaluating not only who the elected representatives of the 8th European Parliament are, but also how they got there. Are the paths to the EP the same for women and men? Are there gender differences in terms of MEPs’ political experience? We utilise a unique data set listing more than 700 elected MEPs and their background, party and country characteristics to empirically examine who makes it to the EP and through which route. The results of the analysis suggest no significant gender differences in the pathways to the European Parliament. Yet, parties matter: more women were elected to the 8th EP from left-wing than from right-wing or ‘new’ parties, and both men and (especially) women representing right-wing parties tend to be politically more experienced than their fellow MEPs from other types of parties. Furthermore, we find that men are more likely than women to be promoted straight from party office to the European Parliament, suggesting that some pathways to the EP are less open to women than others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-641
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number3
Early online date7 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • political recruitment
  • candidate selection
  • women's representation
  • gender quotas
  • European Parliament


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