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FIIN feature: Gendering Cabinet Reshuffles in France and Spain

First available online at: Cambridge University Press

Karen Beckwith and Susan Franceschet
Karen Beckwith and Susan Franceschet

Department of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA; Department of Political Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada


Presidents and prime ministers who form gender-parity cabinets receive positive news coverage and public praise. Cabinet reshuffles, with less attention, may offer scope to decrease the numbers of female ministers. Although research on the gendered impact of reshuffles is sparse, some studies suggest that women’s presence declines during reshuffles. This article explores the gendered dynamics of reshuffles that follow initial gender-parity cabinets, asking whether the reshuffle context affects the proportions of men and women in reorganized cabinet teams. Employing a comparative case study approach, the article analyses initial gender-parity cabinets and subsequent reshuffled cabinets in France and Spain across three different presidents and prime ministers. We find that gender parity functions as a concrete floor, sustained in cabinet reshuffles, unaffected by political shocks and party system changes, and without consequence for women’s appointments to high-prestige ministerships.

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