Nonmainstream left parties and women’s representation in Western Europe

Daniel Keith, Tania Verge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ideology is one of the most relevant variables in explaining the level of women’s representation attained by political parties. While left-wing parties are typically the best performers, extant research has tended to overlook the diversity of the left block and predominantly focused on mainstream left-wing political parties, namely the Social Democrats. Yet, the Left also includes both Green parties and radical left parties. This article analyzes the differences that exist within this largely heterogeneous group of parties across Western Europe. In particular, it explores how the diverse ideological background of radical left and Green parties leads to varied ways of engaging with feminism, diverse forms of organizing women within their ranks as well as dissimilar positions toward gender quotas. These shape different levels of women’s numerical representation in public office and in party decision-making positions. Generally, we find that ideology is a greater determinant of representation than geographical region. Our findings also show a significant convergence among distinct party subgroups in terms of their share of elected women in both party and public office.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-409
Number of pages13
JournalParty Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, The Author(s) 2016.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • gender quotas
  • green parties
  • radical left parties
  • women’s representation

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