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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Women Mayors in Portugal: A Case Study in Political Representation and Citizenship, 1974-2013

Local Government
Political Participation
Maria Antónia Almeida
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
Maria Antónia Almeida
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL


The Portuguese revolution of 25 April 1974 introduced a process of democratization which was put in practice with the first elections for a constitutional parliament in 25 April 1975 and the approval of a Constitution in 2 April 1976. It was also the beginning of women’s general participation in elections, both as voters and elected representatives, as well as their recognition as equal to man in all aspects of social, economic and political life. In this paper there is an historical analysis of women’s participation in local government as proposed members of the earlier administrative committees which ruled municipalities from 1974 until the first local elections of 12 December 1976, as elected representatives from 1976 to the latest 2013 elections, and their present role as participative citizens. Although four decades have gone by, women’s representation in Portuguese politics is still low. But a sociological study of this group reveals higher educational levels and specialized jobs, particularly in teaching and management. Party membership is also discussed, revealing that the left wing parties invest more in women in local government than right wing parties.
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