Acta Politica

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 372–397 | Cite as

Leaving home, finding a partner and having kids: Gender differences in political participation across the life course in Italy

  • Mario Quaranta
Original Article


This article analyzes how the political participation of men and women varies across the life course in Italy. Various studies on the topic have looked at the effects of the life cycle on political participation by using age as a proxy. Participation, however, may not be simply dependent on age. Instead, it may be related to the roles individuals assume during the life course. For this reason, the article looks at how participation changes during specific life transitions, such as leaving the parental home, forming a union and becoming a parent. Furthermore, the article puts special emphasis on how ‘private inequalities’ in the household may become ‘political inequalities’. In fact, family roles and responsibilities can be constraints to participation, especially for women. The article finds that while leaving the parental home is positively associated with participation for both men and women, forming a union and being a parent is detrimental to the participation of women, but not to that of men.


political participation life course life transitions gender gap household composition Italy 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Quaranta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceLUISS ‘Guido Carli’RomeItaly

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