Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Robert Brown

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Holly Reynolds

Relational Format



Women are underrepresented in mayor’s offices and on city councils across Latin America. In this paper, I examine gender-based differences in individual opinions toward running for office in Argentina and Uruguay, as well as conduct a twenty-six country analysis on factors related to female representation in municipal government. Based on these analyses, I make three main conclusions about female local representation in Latin America. The first conclusion is that women in Latin America are significantly less likely to want to run or feel qualified to run for office. The second conclusion is that cross-national variation in the percentage of female mayors is influenced by structural factors, specifically unmet need for family planning, and cultural factors, specifically voter attitudes surrounding women’s leadership abilities and left/right leanings of the electorate. The third conclusion is that cross-national variation in female city council members is strongly influenced by institutional forces that may generate an environment that is more amenable to running for local office.My overall conclusions are that closing the ambition gap between men and women through personal encouragement and women’s recruitment to political parties would improve the descriptive representation gap for mayors, and that prospective female city council members would benefit from local quota laws.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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