Professor Karen Beckwith recently presented a paper, “From Party Leader to Prime Minister? Gender and Leadership Contests in West Europe,” at the 2014 European Consortium for Political Research Joint Sessions of Workshops, in Salamanca, Spain. The ECPR website describes the Joint Sessions as follows:
“Recognised as one of the major highlights of the world’s political science calendar, the Joint Sessions of Workshops have been held in a different European city, at an ECPR Full-Member university, each spring since 1973.
“Workshops are closed gatherings of 15-20 participants, which last for about five days. Topics of discussion are precisely defined, and only scholars currently working in the Workshop’s field, and with a Paper or research document for discussion, are invited to participate. Participants may attend only one Workshop, and must stay for the duration of the event.
“This format, unique to the ECPR, means that the Joint Sessions have become a leading forum for substantive discussion and collaboration between political science scholars from across the world, and at all stages of their career.”
|This photo includes most, but not all, of the Gender and the Executive Branch Workshop participants, who came from Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and the US.|
The workshop to which Professor Beckwith contributed, Gender and the Executive Branch, was organized and directed by Professors Claire Annesley (University of Manchester, UK) and Susan Franceschet (University of Calgary, Canada), who selected twenty scholars from a dozen countries to present and to discuss their research. It was one of 24 workshops accepted for the Salamanca meetings. A list of the other workshops can be found here.
Professor Beckwith’s paper investigated the pattern of women’s success in becoming leaders of major parties in West Europe, as a conventional step to becoming prime ministers. The paper focused on party leadership contests where women contest for leadership and where no women are contenders, and investigates the conditions under which women are likely to compete or defer standing for leadership. Professor Beckwith examined four factors to identify propitious and hostile conditions for female leadership: 1) party ideology receptive to women, 2) rules of leader competition and selection, 3) party leader eligibility pools, and 4) low-competition opportunity structures. The paper traced party leadership selection procedures for major parties in three countries: for Britain, the Conservative and Labour Parties; for Germany, the Christian Democratic Union and Social Democratic Party; and for Spain, the Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the Partido Popular. The paper examined the impact of (and changes in) party leader selection processes on women’s party leadership opportunities, within countries across parties and within parties of left and right across countries. The paper concluded with an analysis of women’s party leadership opportunities and contest outcomes.
A Visting Fulbright Professor at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Beckwith has been speaking and presenting papers on her research, in Scotland and England, as well as her participation in the ECPR Joint Sessions in Salamanca.