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The Gender-Wealth Gap In Politics And How To Fix It

Ragnhild Muriaas, Professor in Political Science, University of Bergen


Studies of political financing and democratic quality have raised unequal access to financial support as a core concern for vigorous electoral competition. Scholars of democracy, like Jeremy Beetham, has even asked: what is the value of the political right to stand for elected office if it is only accessible to the wealthy? Knowing that men tend to be more affluent than women all over the world and that contesting elections is a very costly affair in most countries, it is imperative to ask how this affects gender imbalance in politics.

In this talk, Ragnhild Muriaas will discuss the complexities of a gender-wealth gap in politics, and evaluate the initiatives taken in 33 democratic elections to fix it. How and under what conditions do political behaviour change when streams of funds are redirected?

This session will be chaired by Associate Professor Carlo Koos, University of Bergen.

Ragnhild Louise Muriaas is a Professor of Political Science in the Department of Administration and Organization Theory at the University of Bergen. She is the Principal Investigator of an ERC consolidator project titled SUCCESS Gender-Gap in Political Endurance: A novel political inclusion theory. She recently led the research project Money Talks: Gendered Electoral Financing in Democratic and Democratizing States, financed by the Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO). She is chair of the board at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research (SKOK) at the University of Bergen.

Her research focuses on the interaction between gender and politics, with a particular focus on representation, political careers and political financing. She has a broad field experience from Cabo Verde, Norway, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. She has edited or authored four books, one of them on gendered electoral financing. Her work on gender, wealth and politics appears in such journals as the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, African Affairs, Journal of Modern African Studies and International Political Science Review. A short film called Money Talks: Women and Elections in Malawi was made ahead of the 2019 elections.