Gender and Political Representation in a (Post-) Pandemic Era: How the Increased Salience of Health and Poverty Issues Affects Women's Political Inclusion and Power in Low-Income Countries

The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented global health crisis and a major poverty crisis, particularly evident in the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries. This project investigates what happens when a global crisis suddenly directs the attention of the international community, national governments, and populations to issues that have historically been prioritized by women: poverty alleviation, health care, and gender equality. What effects does it have for women's political representation and power in low-income countries? Are women's political representation and power increasing in the wake of the pandemic, thanks to women's knowledge and expertise in these policy areas, or are male political elites taking over these previously low-status issues and limiting women politicians' opportunities for political influence?

More specifically, this project explores the pandemic’s impacts on (1) the presence of women in political decision-making (descriptive representation) and on (2) the policy priorities and legislative behavior of men and women political leaders (substantive representation) in low-income countries.

To systematically explore the impact of the global pandemic on women's numerical political representation and on gender dynamics in parliament, we will carry out a number of different studies, including quantitative analyzes of changes in women's numeric representation and budget allocations in low-income countries, analyses of legislative speech data from a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a comparative case study of Malawi and Zimbabwe, and survey experiments with citizens to gauge how citizens' demands for women politicians have been affected by the pandemic.

Principal Investigator: Cecilia Josefsson (statsvetenskapliga institutionen)

Period: 2022–2024

Funding: SEK 4 500 000 from Vetenskapsrådet

Cecilia Josefsson

Associate senior lecturer/Assistant Professor at Department of Government, Faculty


Cecilia Josefsson, Department of Government, Uppsala University

Pär Zetterberg, Department of Government, Uppsala University

Amanda Clayton, Vanderbilt University, USA

Last modified: 2023-01-18