Electing to Do Women's Work? Gendered Divisions of Labor in U.K. Select Committees, 1979–2016

Mark Goodwin, Stephen Bates, Steven McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Where female representatives are located within legislatures and what they do matters for the substantive representation of women. Previous scholarship has found that female parliamentary committee members participate differently than their male counterparts in relation to both policy area and status of positions held. Here, we draw on an original time-series data set (n = 9,767) to analyze the U.K. select committee system. We test for the impact of four variables previously found to be important in explaining changes in gendered divisions of labor: the system of appointment/election, the proportion of female representatives in the legislature, sharp increases in the number of female representatives, and changes in government from right-wing parties to left-wing parties. We find that horizontal and vertical divisions of labor persist over time and that membership patterns in the United Kingdom mainly correspond to those found elsewhere. Moreover, there is little evidence that any of the four variables have systematically affected membership patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-639
Number of pages33
JournalPolitics & Gender
Issue number4
Early online date11 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Gendered division of labor
  • House of Commons
  • MPs
  • Parliament
  • select committees
  • women in politics


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