Reagan and Thatcher

There is a “gender gap” in European politics. We may have the most gender-balanced European Commission in history, but the distribution of political, economic and social power is still where the European Institute for Gender Equality registers the biggest gap between men and women across the EU.

Women have had the vote in much of Europe for a century (though some EU countries only adopted women’s suffrage as late as the 1960s). Yet representation is still far from equal in most Member States; in 2019, 72% of ministers in EU Member State governments were men and 70% of members of parliament were male.

The gender gap in political participation is closing. Historically, fewer women have participated in European elections than men (with a great deal of national variation; for example, in France during the 2014 EU elections, men were 11% more likely to vote than women, while in Sweden women were 16% more likely to vote than men). Overall, the gender participation gap in European elections shrank from 4% in 2014 to only 3% in 2019. Despite more equal rates of participation, difference in representation persist.

Do men and women see politics differently? There have been studies suggesting differences in voting behaviour between men and women. However, it’s important to stress that the research suggests a great deal of regional and national variation. In Western Europe, for example, women tend to vote for more leftist political parties than men, while in post-Communist countries the gender difference is reversed (with women voting for more right-leaning parties). This would suggest differences based on society not biology, with the biggest drivers being “resources, economic development, gender role socialisation, and political context”.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from HJo, who believes that men and women are “fundamentally different”. Not “better” or “worse”, just different. But is he right? Or is it all about social context? And do male and female politicians have different political styles?

To get a response, we spoke to Věra Jourová, European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the new Von der Leyen Commission. How would she respond?

To get another perspective, we also put the same comment to Serap Altinisik, Head of Office and EU Representative at the Plan International EU Office. What would she say to HJo?

Does a politician’s gender affect their politics? Why is political representation still so unequal across the EU when it comes to gender? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Public Domain

28 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Whether they have children or not, that seems to have an impact.

  2. avatar

    I think that women care more about general interests

  3. avatar
    Siraaj Carab

    I am interested to debate with women abuse in Africa particularly east Africa

  4. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    What a “loving political” issue!
    Both genders are already “socially” equal- but differently capable.

    In politics, one should adhere to the basics of representation, not charm preferences or the latest US House of Democrats ploy- “quid pro quo”!

    * Any political party needs a clear agenda, direction & constitution-
    * “their politics” is not designed individually, but is a group construct-
    * It should not matter who drives a political philosophy- as long it’s done with
    honesty, willingness & effectiveness-
    * Gender balance emerged as an additional benchmark- not only in mature western
    Democracies. It is actively promoted by the UN & an important “empowerment factor” in the 3rd world. All with valid reasons!

    However, ill-conceived competition under the gender equality label should not destroy the age-old attractiveness and respect between the sexes- otherwise, we Europeans go extinct- which is already a concern in the EU- but lesser so in the 3rd world.

  5. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Does a politician’s gender affect their politics?

    The psychological differences between men and women are dramatic. This political game of pretence in uniformity is built on catastrophic ignorance. The only similarity between the two chosen leaders in your picture is, they had an ability to act a part extremely well when required to do so and they both admired each other for having that ability.

    At the time that pic was taken Ronnie was seriously senile and Thatcher, along with his wife Nancy, covered for him better than any hired carer would have done.

    Part of the reason we are in endless chaos regarding the political idealism of Western vision for change is, the core differences between gender and the senses they have around satisfaction and fulfilment. Pragmatic expectation verses a deeply held and erroneous idea that leadership should be based on mutual sacrifice and acceptance of the unacceptable. Emotional weakness rather than determined focus on strength is neither attractive in any population guidance or a workable solution within it. A population cannot collectively believe in, or, give succour to the female instinct of submission. It goes against an innate survival drive to do so. Hence, Western political mayhem having taken hold of unsolvable diversity issues on every level. No strong leadership to respect and adhere to. School playground attitudes resulting in the disastrous NATO summit seen with leaders playing games amongst themselves whilst fully believing they are being smart. What a catastrophe of failure that idiotic dance was to watch. A ballroom of idiocy.

  6. avatar

    Ofcourse lol. Wtf. Different life experiences.. thats why we need all genders in politics

  7. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Does a politician’s gender affect their politics?

    Read this article in our newspaper today. Link at the bottom of page.

    This catastrophe is a result of crazy political chaos and the mayhem created by the nut jobs, who now represent all of European and Western world clowns, connected to what they call ‘human rights.’ Behind it are people willing to sacrifice the lives of children to find themselves in money making positions of power.

    They did this to the children in the scandal called Thalidomide. Pretended for years it was not happening. And still try to do that today.

    What no one appears to question is, why are so many children believing they are not the gender their body tells them they are? Why are we not looking into that detail. Why are fish showing too many human hormones in their bodies? Why are so many children either physically or mentally ill over their sexual make up? Who is looking at the health of these young people and questioning more? It is affecting kids to the point they are being maddened by this chaos in their thousands. This includes all of us. (Tolerance above all matters of concern is the optimum answer and the requirement by all to comply)

    The confusion you read of may be a result of political indoctrination. When at college we were made aware that every trend was a direct result of political climate of that day. The political climate presently is in confusion, obsessed with the ‘gender’ balance issue and the pretence of sexes being identical, in order to invite an acceptance of so called ‘equality.’ For some reason men and women must have identical psychological genetic character, needs and senses, to ensure all are considered suitable for any particular roll in life. That is considered a must have for the required acceptance of equality.

    The truth is, equality must be based on equal acceptance of the differences we quite obviously carry as two opposite sexes. It is unreasonable to assume otherwise. Nature designed two opposing advantages in our fulfilment needs so as to enable those differences to fit together in a dovetail, which covers all situations that may arise. But some quirk thought if the entire planet was male oriented we would have double the working force of slaves. Low paid, uneducated drones in their millions. Along with their abandoned children half crazed by no role models to follow or understand their own existence.

    This is the outcome of that savagery and of our collective fear to defend ourselves and our children against it. Listen to these terrified people who cannot speak up to save their young patients from abuse.

    This is an example of politics being affected by gender. Isn’t it? Or, is it another one we must not dare to go near as it may upset a few apple carts doing so?

    • avatar
      Catherine Benning

      Does a politician’s gender affect their politics?

      If you look at countries, or even political parties, who have adopted a pro female number of politicians to their leading group, you will find it obvious the country or party from that point is on a decline. The most profound being Sweden and in my country, the Labour party. In the UK the Labour Party now has more women than men as so called representatives. You will see both Sweden and the Labour Party are on a dramatic decline as the policies they offer become deeply disconnected to the masses. Now, if it is not due to the massive influx of feminine interference in the acceptability of ideas put forward, then why is that happening?

      The EU likewise, is on the decline, as it adheres to more female instability and bizarre politically correct requirements by the minute. And until world politics comes out of denial on this matter, the fall of our civilisation will continue.

      Look at the Americans. Since the fall to female power it is on a dramatic decline. And how fierce they have become at the threat to their power loss. Nancy Pelosi looks more like a drunken sot every day. With the crazed eye of a shrew growing by the hour. It’s the female Clinton at the back of her. That is for sure. She lost to a ‘man’ and that is not acceptable to the crazed idea of their self worth. Nothing taking place in the US presently is of any interest to the women in power in that country. Instead, the only policy seen as worthwhile is the removal of the ‘man’ who disobeys their leadership direction, Donald Trump. Impeach. Impeach, Impeach him. Yet the accusations against him are for far less deviance to morality than Obama. That though must not be said as he represents Africa in America.

      As the West gets more enveloped in female spin, now infiltrated in every department of their political and military machine, the worse the path deviates from logic and practical stable vision.

      What puzzles me is, men, and the public know this to be true, allow the continuation of it regardless, why is that?

      The way to end political correctness of any kind is, not buy into it. And that will end it. Don’t buy tickets for a line you don’t want to follow. Don’t go to a theatre that is plugging politically correct nonsense. Don’t shop in stores that offer you any kind of political doctrine that is against your ethos. Don’t buy tickets at games or sports events you feel is plugging any kind of policy you feel is against your sense or set of beliefs. Reject the push of madness with your pocket. The only way to take the pushers out of business is not to spend your money supporting them. Without your cash or willingness to submit to it, their unrepresentative agenda will suffocate and die.

      And if you don’t want to do that, why is it? How do you think you can bring about correction to your principles if you don’t stop feeding it with your cash?

      I sincerely hope our human right of freedom of expression is adhered to on this open forum. They, after all, asked for the views of the people on this matter. And these are my views.

  8. avatar

    Depends if politician is a populist or has a mind of own

  9. avatar

    … having a project is genderlessness.

  10. avatar

    Not nearly as much as honesty, caring for their people and for the posterity.

  11. avatar

    Nope it’s all about ideology

  12. avatar

    I believe one’s perceptions over the world, in general, comes naturally different taking gender as a variable. Now, not only taking equity as an absolute good thing, but rationally; different angles of seeing the world’s problems, can only mean more efficiency.
    As to closing that gap, I believe we only need to admit the benefits wrote earlier and act in consequence, that is putting more women where there are too many men.

  13. avatar

    No, and expecting as much is simply sexism. Often an excessive burden is placed on women out of an expectation that they be morally superior to men, and they are judged more harshly for actions that men readily get away with out of the belief that “a woman doesn’t do such things”, so any woman who does must then be especially defective.
    Judging people on the basis of their actions rather than their identity (whether gender identity or political identity) is the more labour-intensive way of thinking, but also the far more rational one.

  14. avatar

    Perhaps women just don’t like politics? I don’t sympathize with either women or men. I stand in solidarity with the human being, his peaceful actions, initiatives in favour of democratc reforms and the protection of human rights. Parity is not necessary.

  15. avatar

    An interesting question!
    Men and women as groups are physically and psychologically different – partly due to culture, but also because they have been shaped differently over the course of our evolutionary history. The psychological traits selected in reproductively successful males were often very different from those for women (e.g. successful warlords could father dozens of children, a strategy not open to women for obvious reasons). Sexual dimorphism in humans is less marked than in, say, Deep Sea Anglerfish (…/absurd-creature-of-the-week…/ ), but there’s no reason to think there are no biologically-rooted psychological differences between men and women.
    The most general difference may be that men would be more prone to high-risk, high-reward strategies – something which would rarely make evolutionary sense for women. This might explain why men – besides their greater physical strength – are more aggressive than women (hence why men vastly outnumber women in prisons). It may also explain a plethora of risky behaviors men are more likely to engage in. By contrast, women seem to put a higher premium on safety (e.g. female students in the UK are more likely to support academic censorship in order to protect vulnerable groups:…/women-students-are-more… ). There’s also evidence that women are more empathic – reacting more sharply to other’s pain (…/womens-brains-show-more… ) – which again make sense if the male brain by contrast has evolved to compete and succeed in situations of violent conflict.
    These differences would naturally affect men and women’s governing styles – although that is a very complicated issue. In the context of COVID, many have asked whether women leaders are better at managing health crises (e.g.…/are-female-leaders-better…/… ). An interesting question, though I would guess that similar speculation about male superiority in a given area would likely get you “cancelled” (as Larry Summers and a few others have found out).
    For a very comprehensive overview of the various national and cross-cultural studies on male-female psychological differences in humans, I strongly recommend David Buss’ “Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind” (…/dp/0205992129 ).

  16. avatar

    The sister of the former King of Bulgaria Simeon II says that politics is strictly a men’s job. I don’t share this position. However what astonishes me is that most famous female politicians in Europe today participate in right-wing governments. This is a lack of self-respect toward themselves as women.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hey Христо, you make an interesting point. Why do you think so?

    • avatar

      Because right-wingers tend to believe that women are inferior to men. That’s why.

    • avatar

      I feel that statement is leftist rhetoric. He’s why:…/one-five-say-women…/98892816/

    • avatar

      Your comment is a classic example of the strawman fallacy. You try to refute the argument that right-wingers think that women are inferior to men by claiming that women think the same way about men. However both statements are independent from each other.

    • avatar

      you missed the point that there is no substance to your claim of what right-winger tend to believe. I, on the other hand, provide a study that globally it’s a cultural view, refuting your political bias.Try reading and comprehending what has been provided before uttering more leftist rhetoric.

  17. avatar

    Not sure about gender….but beware redheads !!!

  18. avatar

    What about the gender gap in mining, construction, and garbage collection? When are we going to address that issue with some quotas?

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