Highly-educated and diligently cohesive? An analysis of Italian women MPs in the current legislature

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The 2018 Italian general election brought to the Parliament a record number of women MPs, 225 out of 630 (35.71%) deputies, with the Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle: M5S) electing the youngest (25 years old). In the country women have held only 78 ministerial positions out of more than 1,500 in 64 governments (Italian Senate 2018), confirming that politics is a man’s world (Jalalzai and Krook 2010). This analysis examines who these women are and what positions they cover in the current legislature.

Studies show that political parties largely remain as gatekeepers (Pansardi 2016), affecting gender-biased selection at committee appointments (Pansardi and Vercesi 2016). Yet, women represent a more cohesive group when elected (Papavero and Zucchini 2012) and remain closer to the centre of the party. As that could show their perfect integration, but also their political weakness within the party, this study examines the data from the Italian Ministry of Interior, the results from an elite survey and semi-structured interviews. After outlining who these MPs are and what they do, the analysis seeks to address whether the empirical evidence can sustain that being a woman is doing politics differently or simply observe more cohesion (Cowley and Child 2003).



  • Invited presentation: World Trade Institute, University of Bern (26 April 2022)