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Women in Politics

2011. With Margit Tavits. “Informal Influences in Selecting Female Political Candidates”, Political Research Quarterly. One of the top 10 most-downloaded PRQ articles.

(PRQ issued a press release on our article timed to coincide with the primary season for the 2012 US elections. Also see media coverage from and  the Vancouver Sun.)


The authors argue that the gender composition of party gatekeepers—those responsible for candidate recruitment— plays a crucial role in either encouraging or discouraging women candidates to run for office. Using an original data set that includes constituency-level information for all parties and candidates in the 2004 and 2006 Canadian national elections, the authors find support for this proposition. Women candidates are more likely to be nominated when the gatekeeper—the local party president—is a woman rather than a man. The results underline the importance of informal factors for understanding women’s political underrepresentation.

Presentation to the Liberal Party of Canada

13 Jan 2012, Ottawa

On Friday, January 13th, 2012, I presented the results of this study to the National Women’s Liberal Commission during the Biennial Convention for the Liberal Party of Canada. The presentation is available here. This is the powerpoint version, complete with notes at the bottom and explanations. This is the PDF version, with just the slides.

After the presentation, I participated in a round table discussion. I have summarized the policy recommendations that emerged from that discussion in the graphic below.

Research on 2007 Ontario Referendum on Mixed Member Proportional System

This research was conducted in the lead-up to the 2007 MMP Referendum in Ontario, Canada. I show that implementing MMP should lead to an increase in the proportion of women in parliament. Although this information hasn’t been updated since 2007, all of the arguments and evidence should still hold.

How to Get More Women to Run for Office

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