The representation of women in politics, addressing the supply side: Public attitudes to job-sharing parliamentarians
There is a substantial academic literature addressing the representation of women in British politics. The majority of recent work focuses on issues of demand (such as gender quotas) and issues affecting the supply of women candidates have been largely overlooked. However, more recently the use of job shares for MPs has been proposed as a possible solution to supply-side problems. This article tests what the British electorate’s reaction to such arrangements might be. It finds no great support for the introduction of job-sharing candidates but nor does it detect overwhelming opposition. Explaining the case for job sharing increases its support slightly but no argument has especially strong impact. The counterarguments have some impact but are also not very strong. When the various pro- and anti-arguments are made together, they appear largely to cancel each other out. Opposition is greatest among men, Conservative or UKIP voters, and those over 60. Support is greatest among women, Labour or Liberal Democrat voters, and younger respondents, especially those of an age most likely to be taking advantage of job shares themselves. When confronted with job-sharing candidates most of the public appear to make judgements on the basis of the candidates offered, rather than automatically rejecting job-share set-ups out of hand.
Keywordsgender representation women participation job-share MPs candidates
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