Women Cabinet Ministers in Highly Visible Posts and Empowerment of Women: Are the Two Related?

  • Tiffany D. Barnes
  • Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson
Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)


We evaluate global patterns of women’s access to the most powerful and prestigious cabinet posts: defense, finance, and foreign affairs. Although women remain dramatically underrepresented in these important portfolios, their access has increased notably in recent decades and varies dramatically across the globe. We theorize that women’s access to these posts may empower women citizens by fostering satisfaction and confidence with the government and cultivating beliefs in women’s ability to govern. Using our novel data, combined with the World Values Survey data from 58 countries from 1981 to 2014, we find that women’s presence in top cabinet posts is positively associated with women’s and men’s satisfaction with and confidence in government. Nonetheless, it is not associated with more positive evaluations of women’s ability to lead.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiffany D. Barnes
    • 1
  • Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Deparment of Political ScienceUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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