English title: Gender inequality among political elites in comparative perspective

Author(s): Jenny, L. Hansson -

Language: English

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2013


Are gender inequalities in work/life outcomes apparent among those positioned at the powerful top of society’s hierarchy, and if so, why? There is currently a lack of consistent knowledge about what happens to those women who have reached the most influential positions of society, and about whether (and how) their situation differs from that of their male counterparts. This is particularly so in the case of political elites, about whom very few current studies exist. This thesis investigates gender and individual-level work/life outcomes among political elites (national parliamentarians) comparing two cases: Sweden and Germany. The research builds on empirical investigations from self-collected survey data covering finite populations of Swedish and German national parliamentarians. Parts of this political elite data are further matched to existing, large-scale databases from the European Social Survey, consisting of representative samples of general citizens, and of general elites, of the two nations. This allows reference comparisons to be made between the political elites and average citizens of the respective countries. To provide additional depth to the findings, the quan-titative investigation was also complemented by a qualitative interview study. The results showed gender inequality in the strength of demand and support experienced in the home-sphere of the political elites (such as concerning household work and functional partner sup-port). These gender discrepancies were more pronounced in the case of Germany than in Sweden. However, gender equality was observed concerning perceived career and influence possibilities in the work-sphere, and concerning general subjective well-being, in both the German and Swedish case of political elites.


Awarding institution: European University Institute, Department of Political and Social Sciences

Number of pages: 0

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