Women’s Representation in Multi-Ethnic Countries

A new paper by Leonardo Arriola and Martha Johnson examines women’s representation in multi-ethnic countries. They focus on ministerial appointments to executive cabinets in 34 African countries. They find that fewer women are appointed to cabinets in countries where ethnic groups are more politicized. Although my research focuses on representation in national legislatives, it shows that this mechanism seems to be at work more generally. My research argues that the salience of social divisions is relevant here: sometimes gender differences are relatively more important, sometimes ethnic differences are relatively more important.

In fact, when Arriola and Johnson note that there are more appointments for women in countries where there are more women in the legislature, they hint at the above, but never make it explicit. It is encouraging to see research by others corroborating findings, especially if they use different methods and a different focus.

Arriola, Leonardo R., and Martha C. Johnson. 2013. “Ethnic Politics and Women’s Empowerment in Africa: Ministerial Appointments to Executive Cabinets.” American Journal of Political Science. doi:10.1111/ajps.12075.

Ruedin, Didier. 2010. “The Relationship between Levels of Gender and Ethnic Group Representation.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 10 (2): 92–106. doi:10.1111/j.1754-9469.2010.01066.x.

Ruedin, Didier. 2013. Why Aren’t They There? The Political Representation of Women, Ethnic Groups and Issue Positions in Legislatures. Colchester: ECPR Press. ISBN: 9780955820397

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