Women in the political science profession

Parveen Akhtar, Paul Fawcett, Timothy Legrand, David Marsh, Chloe Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While some 40 per cent of the students undertaking political science degrees in the UK are women, about three-quarters of those teaching them are men. This article examines why female undergraduates are less likely to go into graduate work in politics, utilising focus groups conducted with groups of male and female students and interviews with the female students in four large UK universities. The research identifies eight key factors that impacted upon our respondents' decisions to undertake further study. The first four affected both men and women, although there were subtle, yet important, differences in how the women spoke about these issues, and can be somewhat loosely categorised as: money; making a difference; lack of information; and self-confidence. The other four factors influenced the women's, but not the men's, views about graduate work and the profession: stereotyping; role models; family commitments, and time constraints. On the basis of our research, we suggest how national political science associations and individual departments might increase the number of women undertaking graduate work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-255
JournalEuropean Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


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