No. 23




Party Lists, Votes and Candidate Gender at the Riigikogu Elections of 2007 and 2011

15 June 2011


RiTo No. 23, 2011

For those who strive for gender equality in politics, the Riigikogu elections of 2011 were a disappointment because, in comparison to previous elections, the percentage of women among candidates and those elected decreased.

At the same time it cannot be said that in 2011 women received less votes than men. The proportion of people who received a small, average or large number of votes is the same among candidates of both genders. If gender does not influence the amount of votes, then why are women underrepresented? In the author’s opinion, one explanation could be the wrong angle of research – the reasons for the low representation of women do not lie in voting and the day of elections but in the events preceding them, like the compilation of lists and the small percentage of women among the candidates. As is known, women’s representation in politics is influenced by both demand and supply. On the basis of the election results discussed in this article, it seems that there is a demand for women from the voters – female candidates do not get fewer votes than men. But the demand for more women from political parties is another matter. Previously, interviews with the party leaders and members have shown that the demand for greater participation of women tends to be low. At the same time, future research should also pay more attention to the supply of female candidates and women’s decision to enter politics.

Full article in Estonian