Women’s representation in municipal councils: A research analyzing the 2022 municipal elections of the Netherlands in combination with key figures of participating municipalities

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This thesis analyses how the descriptive representation of women in municipal councils can be impacted by supply- and demand-side factors. To analyze what contributes to the percentage of women in councils, a quantitative analysis was conducted with data on the results of the 2022 municipal elections as well as key figures of all participating municipalities. Based on this data, population size proves to be a significant predictor for the percentage of women in municipalities. Population density is a positive mediator in this regard, strengthening the initial effect of population size on the percentage of women in municipalities. A high population size and density potentially leads to people being influenced and/or stronger networks, increasing both supply and demand for women. When controlled for left-right party ideology, only population density is still a significant predictor, suggesting that population size was initially an important predictor mainly because bigger cities tend to vote more left-wing. Secondly, the data showed that disposable and standardized income are no significant predictors for the percentage of women in municipal councils. The results did reveal a significant effect for median household wealth, but that effect was controlled away when age was considered, indicating that it was rather the effect of age than wealth that determined the percentage of women in municipal councils. Lastly, the demand for women appears to be higher for younger people and the supply of women seems to be higher for left-wing and progressive parties. Data showed that the population aged 20-25 increases the average amount of women in municipalities, indicating that they explicitly vote for women more than average or their older counterparts.
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