Dissertation: The Burden of Proof - Barriers to Women in Party Controlled Candidate Selection
The main argument of the dissertation is that party gatekeepers form a significant barrier to women’s representation in party-controlled candidate selection processes. Further than what the literature identifies, I argue that these barriers are magnified by the variation in interest among different levels of party gatekeepers. When candidate selection is controlled by different levels of party members the interest that drive selection are at odds with a combined outcome that is especially difficult for women candidates. Party members at the local level are highly motivated by the potential financial gain whereas members of the political elite are driven by the potential network connections. While these barriers are persistent for male candidates, the unique combination of both financial and network obstacles compound existing barriers that women experience in the socio-cultural environment of sub-Saharan Africa. Potential male aspirants This dissertation demonstrates that while women are making significant headway in with voters, the compilation of party members in candidate selection significantly holds women back from achieving elected office.
- The dissertation project takes a multi-method approach presenting utilizing newly collected data - interviews, party records, and a survey experiment - to support the claims.
- The theory was generated from 90 interviews and over seven months in the field in Zambia.
- List of aspirants from the most recent 2016 election, surprisingly difficult information to collect, was recorded and coded – demonstrating the low rates of women candidate application selection.
- The gendered nature of recommendations was found and analyzed through candidate recommendations; documents that highlight the higher bar set for women aspirants to be deemed qualified.
- The survey experiment was then modeled to test these claims, designed to mirror the internal party dynamics of candidate selection and implemented throughout the country (N~2,000).
- The research was made possible with support from the NSF DDRIG, UC Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies Fellowship, and the Center for African Studies Rocca Fellowship.