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    The man-woman ratio in municipality councils in the Netherlands varies tremendously. Why does local politics attract women in some municipalities but not in other? The author attempts to answer this question by conducting interviews with municipality clerks and female council members of municipalities where the man-women ratio is even and municipalities where men are in the overwhelming majority. Additionally, the author conducts seven in depth interviews with former local and regional politicians about their motives to quit. Based on the interviews the author concludes that the political culture varies locally, making feel women more or less welcome. Sexist comments were mentioned several times, more often coming from respondents who worked in councils where men were in the majority. Finally, the balance between work, local politics and family life was often mentioned as a major hurdle for young parents (both men and women) for becoming or staying politically active. The author suggests to explore ways to change the political culture, to combat sexism and to find ways to reduce the workload in order to create more equal access to the local political arena.


Dr. Maria Kranendonk
Dr. Maria Kranendonk is junior expert demografische en economische data-analyse bij de provincie Noord-Holland. Toen ze deze bijdrage schreef was zij postdoctorale onderzoeker aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.
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