Women’s Representation in the German Multi-level System - Electoral Success of Women Across Different Levels of Government


This project challenges the conventional wisdom in the academic literature on the representation of women claiming that the proportion of women in representative bodies decreases with the government level. The established hypothesis holds that women are more frequently politically engaged on the local level than on the national stage. Yet preliminary observations in Germany indicate that we should reverse this conventional wisdom as we find fewer women in local level assemblies than at any other level. This observation represents an important puzzle as it challenges a vast body of theories on the determinants of women’s representation.


In the course of the research project, the team will create a data base detailing the

composition of representative bodies on all German government levels for a period of 20 years. Based on this innovative data, the project aims to explain patterns of female recruitment in Germany.


This project is jointly carried out by Prof. Jessica Fortin-Rittberger at the University of Salzburg with Dr. Christina Eder from the GESIS Leibniz Institut für Sozialwissenschaften in Mannheim in the period between 01.08.2014 and 31.07.2015 and funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung.