The Relationship between Levels of Gender and Ethnic Group Representation

Didier Ruedin
  • Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, June 2010, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1754-9469.2010.01066.x

Does the share of women in national legislatures relate to the share of ethnic minority groups?

What is it about?

I examine whether the share of women in national legislatures relates to the share of ethnic minority groups in national legislatures. Taagepera (1994) and Lijphart (1999) explicitly predicted that we should expect a positive correlation: in legislatures with more women, we should also expect more members of ethnic minority groups. Their argument was that the mechanisms behind different shares of women and ethnic minority groups in national legislatures are the same. I find no evidence that the share of women in national legislatures relates to the share of ethnic minority groups in national legislatures. Instead, the share of ethnic minority groups tends to be higher in countries where we can assume ethnic differences to be relatively more salient than gender differences.

Why is it important?

A core principle of liberal democracies is that they are inclusive and all major groups in society should participate in governance. In the absence of data on ethnic minority groups in national legislatures, researchers had to rely on assumptions.

Perspectives

Didier Ruedin (Author)
University of Neuch√Ętel

Having good theory and a description of the mechanisms is always useful, but it is not always enough. With this article I could demonstrate that there are probably different logics of inclusion when it comes to the political representation of different groups in society. I would have loved to have data on the salience of social divisions, in the absence of which this article necessarily concludes on an assumption.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-9469.2010.01066.x

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