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Beyond the Usual Suspects: Non-Left, Male and Non-Feminist MPs and the Substantive Representation of Women

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2013


The focus on female MPs and leftist and feminist issues in traditional studies of women's substantive representation has supported the overall conclusion that women, feminists and left-wing parties promote women's interests in parliament. But our analysis of the ‘critical actors’ in women's substantive representation in 10 European countries confirms this finding only to a certain extent. Our inductive research design reveals an important group of less obvious actors: non-left, non-feminist and male MPs. That they speak out on behalf of women points to the necessity of revisiting our theories on women's substantive representation.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2013.

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Karen Celis is Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Contact email:

Silvia Erzeel is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe at the Université Catholique de Louvain. Contact email:


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