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Pathways to Power: Women's Representation in the 2014 European Parliament Elections

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Maarja LuhisteORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The 2014 European Parliament (EP) elections produced a record proportion of women MEPs overall (37%). Yet, these results vary widely across countries and parties. This paper 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 more open to women than others.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lühiste M, Kenny M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Political Research

Year: 2016

Volume: 55

Issue: 3

Pages: 626-641

Print publication date: 01/08/2016

Online publication date: 07/04/2016

Acceptance date: 22/02/2016

Date deposited: 23/02/2016

ISSN (print): 0304-4130

ISSN (electronic): 1475-6765

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12144


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