In semi-open list systems, parties present pre-selected pools of candidates to the electorate. Candidates’ assigned ranks on the party lists heavily influence their election odds and may reflect party leaders’ preferences, notably a possible gender bias. To strengthen female representation, parties' choices are increasingly subject to legal quotas. These quotas are expected to be less binding for left-wing parties, which tend to be more women-friendly. Analyzing 854 party lists presented to Flemish voters in the 2012 local elections, we find that right-wing party leadership discriminate in favor of female candidates by offering them higher positions in the party lists. For leftist parties, we observe discrimination in favor of men, not women. Importantly, parties offering higher positions to women tend to do so in parts of the party list certain to lead to either election (left-wing parties) or non-election (right-wing parties). For positions with critical election-odds, no gender bias is identified.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Economics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 May 2019

    Research areas

  • Legal quota, Female representation, Local elections, Flanders, Preferential voting

ID: 45661221