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Although there have been many studies which have looked at the impact of gender representation at the national level, there are relatively few which explore the sub-national level. In this article we provide an exploration of the patterns of representation of women within democratic countries, both developed and transitional that have elected regional, state, cantonal, or provincial legislatures which occupy the middle ground between the central government and local or municipal administration. We provide a systematic comparative analysis of women’s access to and representation in such bodies. The focus is on a cross-national comparison of gender representation at the meso level and the gap in representation between meso and national legislatures. The impact of electoral system type, party magnitude, economic development, constitutional structure, and institutionalization of democratic structures are examined. The data on which this analysis is based are drawn from 536 meso legislative bodies in 29 countries. This is supplemented by party level data (n = 1,348) for the issue of party magnitude. Both OLS and logistical regression are used to test these propositions.


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Vengroff, R., Nyiri, Z., & Fugiero, M. (2003). Electoral system and gender representation in sub-national legislatures: Is there a national—sub-national gender gap?. Political Research Quarterly, 56(2), 163-173.