The UK has the fifteenth highest proportion of women MPs out of the 27 EU Member States. We have provided evidence that women councillors are much less likely to consider running for parliament, while men are much more likely to have been encouraged to do so by their friends and family.
Peter Allen has conducted research that looks in great detail at why the pathway to parliament is so strongly gendered, biased in favour of men. It has explored whether men and women approached their roles as councillors in different ways, whether they differentially benefited from formal and informal support networks, and whether men and women councillors held varying levels of political ambition.
The findings from Peter’s research underline the importance of informal networks of support within political parties as drivers of the parliamentary recruitment of women councillors.