Variables That Influence Women in Parliament

Topics: Gender, Regression analysis, Statistics Pages: 5 (1269 words) Published: August 10, 2013
Abstract: Women are consistently underrepresented in political systems around the world. In this research, I examine factors such as the gender equality scale, education, ratio of female to male income and cultural diversity and their impact on the percentage of women in government. My findings reinforce my hypotheses; all four independent variables have statistically significant effects on women in parliament, with the ratio of female to male income as the largest. Introduction:

The percentage of women in Canadian parliament has stagnated to 21% in recent decades, and 17% for the rest of the world. Which variables impact the representation of women? I want to know if the income gap between men and women, years of education, the cultural diversity of a country, and gender equality scale affects the percentage of women in parliament. I would expect when controlling for political knowledge, the more equal in opportunity a country is, the more women there are in parliament. My regression analysis propounds my hypotheses. While there are some shortcomings to my research, for example, I would have liked to the use age as an independent variable but it was not available in the dataset. Furthermore, my dependent variable only measures women’s representation in parliamentary regimes, thus it cannot be applied to countries with presidential regimes. Literature Review:

Is it necessary for women to obtain mirror representation in parliament? Liberal feminists believe that only trustee representation is necessary in democratic countries because just because an MP is a female, does not mean she will address women’s issues. Especially since party discipline is so strict in parliamentary regimes, female MPs will almost always conform to party cohesiveness than her constituency interests (Young, 2000). But on the other hand socialist feminists argue that democracy cannot achieve legitimacy if formerly oppressed groups such as women aren’t adequately represented. Also women are physiologically different than men, thus they care about women’s issues the most, and their presence in government is a symbolic achievement (Trimble and Arscott, 2003). While both schools of thought identify numerous reasons why women are underrepresented in government, little research is dedicated to which variable is the most important and is the largest barrier for women to enter politics. Operationalization

I am using the Quality of Government Dataset, this dataset is very convenient for regression analysis because most of the variables are ordinal or interval. My dependent variable is Women in Parliament (m_wominpar), it’s an interval variable measured in percent. I want to find out why are women underrepresented in government despite gender equality being entrenched in numerous constitutions around the world. I used political knowledge, an ordinal variable, as a control variable (wvs_a062 ). My second independent variable is the Gender Equality Scale (wvs_gen), it is a multi-dimensional index which measures sexist attitudes towards women. I hypothesize that the less sexist a country is, the more likely women are voted into parliament. Because less sexist countries are more likely to view women as capable MPs in government

My third independent variable is an interval measure, Cultural Diversity (fe_cultdiv). I hypothesize the more culturally diverse (language, ethnicity) a country is, the more likely women are better represented in parliament. My rationale is that women are a minority in government, and minorities groups would more likely identify with other minority groups.

My fourth independent variable is Ratio of Female to Male Income (gid_rfmi). I hypothesize that the higher the ratio (more equal) of income between the sexes, the more women enter government. I included this variable because running campaigns cost a large sum of money, thus it is logical to assume that income affects a person’s...
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