Swansea academic joint winner of the first ECPG Best Paper in Gender and Politics Award

The paper was jointly authored by Tània Verge (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Ana Espírito-Santo (Lisbon University Institute) and Nina Wiesehomeier (Swansea University) and presented at the 4th European Conference on Politics and Gender.

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ECPR logo Nina Wiesehomeier awardThe ECPG Best Paper in Gender and Politics Award is delivered by the ECPG (Standing Group on Gender and Politics) to an outstanding paper presented within the Section on Gender and Politics at ECPR General Conferences and the European Conference on Gender and Politics. The field of gender and politics is broadly conceived to include any paper adopting a gender and/or sexuality studies perspective in political science, international relations, political theory and philosophy, research methods, public policy and public administration.

The winning paper, 'The Symbolic Impact of Women’s Representation on Citizens’ Political Attitudes: Measuring the Effect Through Survey Experiments', was presented at the 4th European Conference on Politics and Gender, section ‘Power and Representation’, Uppsala, 11-14 June 2015 by: 

Tània Verge: Associate Professor in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). Her primary research interests lie in the intersection of gender with political representation and political parties.

Ana Espírito-Santo:   (PhD, European University Institute, 2011), an invited assistant professor at ISCTE-IUL (Lisbon University Institute, Portugal), Department of Political Science & Public Policies. Her main current research interests are gender and politics, political representation and electoral systems.
Nina Wiesehomeier:  Lecturer in Politics at the Department of Political and Cultural Studies at Swansea University (UK). Her research interests revolve around executives, ideology and issues of political representation, political preferences, and political behavior. 

The Jury reported on the paper:  

This paper unpicks symbolic representation of women in an empirical quantitative investigation of what its impact is. The paper is a very sophisticated and innovative exploration of symbolic representation, responding to well documented difficulties in existing literature. It addresses methodological difficulties to the study symbolic representation, including citizens low knowledge of women’s levels of representation (e.g. due to the media’s presentation of politics and women in it) and incremental processes of change which make it difficult to identify causality. Responding to these difficulties the article takes an innovative experimental design and explores different effects of symbolic representation using vignettes to test various hypotheses in a comparative study of Spain and Portugal. Findings highlight the impact of the media in shaping perceptions of women in office, their impact in office and satisfaction with the political system. The study contributes to consolidating and advancing work on symbolic representation through a method that is just beginning to be used in gender and politics. In doing so it shows that our methods should be multiple and advocated on the grounds of what they offer to the research questions we pose. Taken together, this paper reflects ECPG's high standards of rigour and innovation.

Read more about the ECPG:  http://www.ecpg.eu/