The European Parliament is often praised for its gender-equal composition and its high descriptive representation of women. However, there is a remarkable gender gap between the representation of women at the national and European level, and it is debated how these variations can be explained. After discussing theories of representation and reviewing data from the European Parliament on the share of women in national delegations and the political groups in the 9th European Parliament after Brexit, this paper evaluates whether institutional and contextual factors can explain the gender gap between the national and supranational level. It argues that the representation of women cannot be sufficiently explained by the institutional rules. Instead, ambitious national rules in some member states and the parties’ role as gatekeepers can explain the high representation of women. These findings have implications for promoting gender equality in politics in the EU.

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2021 Licinia Güttel

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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