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Wartime Violence and Post-War Women's Representation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2020

Dino Hadzic
Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Margit Tavits
Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
E-mail address:


How does wartime violence shape post-war women's representation? Does past violence make women more or less likely to run for office? And if they do run, are they getting elected? This article argues that violence influences women's representation in contrasting ways at these two stages. In wartime, women have more opportunities to gain leadership skills, which likely increases the number of women running for office after the war. However, past violence also increases threat perceptions among voters. This, combined with gender stereotypes about male and female politicians, likely reduces voter support for female candidates. Using pre- and post-war electoral and wartime violence data at the municipal level from Bosnia, the authors present evidence that is consistent with their argument. The results hold across a number of robustness tests, including accounting for post-war demographic gender balance and women's party list placement.

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