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Gender and Promotion in Executive Office: Cabinet Careers in the World of Westminster

Elites
Executives
Gender
Matthew Kerby
Australian National University
Matthew Kerby
Australian National University
Jennifer Curtin
University of Auckland
Keith Dowding
Australian National University

Abstract

Scholarly interest in the descriptive representation of women in executives has increased in recent years. Particular emphasis has been given to women’s (s)election to cabinet, the allocation of portfolios and the opportunities for substantive representation of female ministers. In this paper we examine whether, and to what extent, promotion and demotion in the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and British cabinets is gendered. We test the hypothesis that rates of intra-cabinet promotion and demotion differ for male and female cabinet ministers by developing an event history model that treats these movements as independent risks and estimates the likelihood of career progression given a minister has “survived” in cabinet up to the point of observation. By comparing ministers across our four cases we examine the effects of institutional variation and differing levels of descriptive representation in the cabinet and legislature while holding the rules and norms of the Westminster system constant.