The gender gap in political ambition is often presented as an immutable fact about the political world. This special issue interrogates this fact, drawing on case studies from across the globe. Taken together, the contributions move the research agenda away from explaining why (or whether) women have less ambition than men, and towards understanding the gendered dynamics of candidate emergence. These gendered dynamics include individual, institutional and contextual factors, thus shifting the emphasis away from gender gaps and towards gendered explanations. This analysis further underscores how exhorting women to ‘lean in’ to candidacy cannot solve the problem of men’s over-representation in politics.
50:50 Parliament (2019) Women, our country needs you!, https://5050parliament.co.uk/women-country-needs/
Allen, P. and Cutts, D. (2020) Personality and the gender gap in political ambition, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
Bauer, G. and Darkwah, A. (2020) We would rather be leaders than parliamentarians: women and political office in Ghana, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
Black, G.S. (1972) A theory of political ambition: career choices and the role of structural incentives, American Political Science Review, 66(1): 144–55. doi: 10.2307/1959283
Cain Miller, C. (2016) The problem for women is not winning, it is deciding to run, The New York Times, www.nytimes.com/2016/10/25/upshot/the-problem-for-women-is-not-winning-its-deciding-to-run.html
Carroll, S.J. and Sanbonmatsu, K. (2013) More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Coffé, H. and Davidson-Schmich, L. (2020) The gendered political ambition cycle in mixed-member electoral systems, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
Dittmar, K. (2020) Urgency and ambition: the influence of political environment and emotion in spurring U.S. women’s candidacies in 2018, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
Evans, A. (2016) For the elections, we want women! Closing the gender gap in Zambian politics, Development and Change, 47(2): 388–411. doi: 10.1111/dech.12224
Fowler, R.D. and McClure, L.L. (1989) Political Ambition: Who Decides to Run for Congress, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Fox, R. and Lawless, J.L. (2005) To run or not to run for office: explaining nascent political ambition, American Journal of Political Science, 49(3): 642–59. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2005.00147.x
Fox, R. and Lawless, J.L. (2010) If only they’d ask: gender, recruitment, and political ambition, The Journal of Politics, 72(2): 310–26. doi: 10.1017/S0022381609990752
Fulton, S.A., Maestas, C.D., Maisel, I.S. and Stone, W.J. (2006) The sense of a woman: gender, ambition, and the decision to run for Congress, Political Research Quarterly, 59(2): 235–48. doi: 10.1177/106591290605900206
Inter-Parliamentary Union (2019) Women in national parliaments, www.ipu.org/iss-e/women.htm
Josefsson, C. (2020) How candidate selection structures and genders political ambition: illustrations from Uruguay, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
Kage, R., Rosenbluth, F.M. and Tanaka, S. (2019) What explains low female political representation? Evidence from a survey experiment in Japan, Politics & Gender, 15(2): 285–309 .
Kanthak, K. and Woon, J. (2015) Women don’t run? Election aversion and candidate entry, American Journal of Political Science, 59(3): 595–612. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12158
Kenny, M. (2013) Gender and Political Recruitment: Theorizing Institutional Change, New York, NY: Palgrave.
Murray, R. (2010) Parties, Gender Quotas, and Candidate Selection in France, New York, NY: Palgrave.
Norris, P. and Lovenduski, J. (1995) Political Recruitment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Piscopo, J.M. (2019) The limits of leaning in: ambition, recruitment, and candidate training in comparative perspective, Politics, Groups, and Identities, 7(4): 817–28. doi: 10.1080/21565503.2018.1532917.
Pruysers, S., Thomas, M. and Blais, J. (2020) Mediated ambition? Gender, news and the desire to seek elected office, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
Schlesinger, J. (1966) Ambition and Politics, Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.
Shames, S.L. (2017) Out of the Running: Why Millennials Reject Political Careers and Why it Matters, New York, NY: New York University Press.
Teele, D.L. (2019) Resisting the Americanization of comparative politics, Comparative Politics Newsletter, 29(1): 15–20 .
Valdini, M.E. (2019) The Inclusion Calculation: Why Men Appropriate Women’s Representation, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Wylie, K. (2020) Taking bread off the table: race, gender, resources and political ambition in Brazil, European Journal of Politics and Gender, 3(1).
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