a1 University of Southern California
While significant attention has been dedicated to explaining women's election to office, fewer studies have assessed female politicians' access to positions of power within legislatures. This latter topic became particularly salient in the British House of Commons following the 2010 general election, when recently adopted reforms introduced intracameral elections for select committee members and chairs. This article outlines three hypotheses concerning the influence of candidate sex on election outcomes: a gender bias against female candidates, a gender advantage favoring female candidates, and gender-neutral outcomes. Drawing on two original data sets, the results not only fail to support the gender-bias hypothesis but also demonstrate that women were advantaged in the interparty elections for committee chairs. These findings offer new insights into both the position of female legislators in the UK Parliament and gender and the allocation of power within national assemblies more generally.
Diana Z. O'Brien is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank Mona Lena Krook, Andrew J. Womack, and the anonymous reviewers at Politics & Gender for their very useful comments. I would also like to thank the members of the House of Commons who provided me with both the inspiration and insights necessary to complete this project.