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Women in upper houses: a global perspective

Keywords: gender and electoral participation, upper houses, senate, legislative, women representation, quotas.

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in analyses of female representation in lower houses, the adoption of quotas, the electoral system and the religious aspect have been identified as the main explanatory variables. in the case of upper houses,1 i see a relationship between their political strength and women's presence in them: when they are weak, the presence of female representatives tends to be larger; when they are strong, women's presence is smaller. furthermore, the article shows that an analysis based solely on the number of seats held by women is insufficient for one to gather the true dimension of their participation in politics. evaluating the role and expressiveness of the institutions in which they are present is also necessary.


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