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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

We address the origins and consequences of male dominance over—and women’s entrance into—executive politics. The executive branch is gendered masculine, perpetuating men’s overrepresentation as cabinet ministers and heads of government. Scholars have shown that women’s inclusion in these posts is explained by institutional factors, rather than cultural and developmental variables. Studies addressing policy and audience effects, however, are fewer and less conclusive. Building on existing work, future scholarship should clarify how and why women’s presence in executive posts enhances modern democracies. New research should also integrate more insights from executive politics research. Scholars must propose and test conditional hypotheses to account for the mixed impact of women’s inclusion. Finally, researchers should explore how gender affects pathways to power, incentives to govern differently, and public approval. Though much work remains, it is already clear that executive politics cannot be fully understood in the absence of a gendered perspective.

Keywords: women, gender, executive branch, cabinets, presidents, prime ministers

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