Endurance at the Top: Gender and Political Ambition of Spanish and Swedish MPs

Carol Galais, Patrik Öhberg, Xavier Coller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The gender gap in political ambition is an important explanation for the absence of women in legislative assemblies. However, previous research on this matter is limited by two facts: it is conducted mostly in the United States and does not pay much attention to cultural and institutional factors. In this article, we test the extent to which established mechanisms behind female politicians' career ambitions-such as differentiated political socialization and family support for men and women-are related to gender inequality among parliamentarians. We also draw attention to other lesser-known aspects, such as political culture and gender policies. To do so, we compare Spain and Sweden, two countries with a relatively high number of female members of parliament (MPs) but different cultures and gender policies. We make use of two representative surveys on Swedish and Spanish MPs. The results show that female MPs in Spain have to sacrifice their family life more than Spanish males and Swedish MPs regardless of sex. In addition, Spanish female MPs' long-term political ambitions are more dependent on family support. Female MPs' ambition in Sweden, in turn, is highly influenced by a politicized upbringing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)596-621
Number of pages26
JournalPolitics and Gender
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Endurance at the Top: Gender and Political Ambition of Spanish and Swedish MPs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this