Women’s political careers: Leadership in practice

Report / White Paper

June 18, 2021

Women’s political careers: Leadership in practice



Women’s political leadership is important for ensuring that women’s perspectives and experiences are included in political decision-making. Over the past 25 years, the overall percentage of women in parliaments has more than doubled. However, the pace of progress has slowed in the past five years and women still make up less than a quarter of representatives in legislatures worldwide. Whilst theories that explore women’s political recruitment are well developed, we need more research on how women get selected. We need to know more about how they win positions as political representatives and how they adapt to the realities of political life.

This report focuses on women’s experience of candidate selection and elections and their experience of political leadership. It asks:

  • How can women political leaders build their profile?
  • What factors support and hinder women’s candidate selection and election success?
  • How do women cope with, and adapt to, the realities of political leadership?
  • How can programmes and policies effectively support women in political leadership roles?

Click here to read the report.

Resource type: 
Rebecca Gordon, Shannon O’Connell, Sophia Fernandes, Keerti Rajagopalan & Rosie Frost
Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD)
Publication year: 
June 2021