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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Women’s Legislative Representation in the Post-Soviet Space in 1991-2017: Macro-Level Analysis

Comparative Politics
Kristina Gushchina
University of Cologne
Kristina Gushchina
University of Cologne

The problem of female political representation has been of a particular salience in the recent decades. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’ data, the world average percentage of women in national legislatures was 23.4% for the single or lower house by June 1st, 2017. Having in mind that women constitute roughly a half of the world’s population, we can clearly see that they remain highly underrepresented in the states' parliaments. Moreover, the situation with women’s legislative representation varies considerably among world’s regions and between individual countries. However, there is still no consensus among researchers on the factors that influence female legislative representation in particular regions. Majority of the existed research is based on the samples of developed countries, that is advanced democracies. The growing body of the literature on developing countries sometimes shows contradictory results that the factors working in a particular way in developed countries work in an opposite direction or do not work at all in the developing countries. One of the regions that remained understudied is the Post-Soviet space.
Therefore, I would like to build the paper on this gap in the literature and to identify macro-level factors that have had an impact on women’s legislative representation in 15 Post-Soviet states in 1991-2017. The preliminary results of the conducted statistical analysis, namely an OLS regression with “fixed effects”, showed that proportional representation and socio-economic development have had the main positive impact on the number of women in the national parliaments in all models. Contrary to many prior researches, the impact of national gender quotas, percentage of Muslims, and female labour force participation in a country do not have a statistically significant effect. However, despite the lack of statistical significance, the direction of the effect of the first two variables is positive and negative, respectively, which is in accordance with many previous findings. The latter variable, in turn, has a negative impact of female legislative representation. This is an interesting finding which contradicts many existing researches on political representation of women and requires further consideration.
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