Political parties play the most prominent role in shaping the gender composition of parliaments. Through political recruitment, parties might act in such ways as to promote or hinder gender equality in terms of women’s chances to access parliamentary seats. While external factors, such as the electoral system and the presence of legislated gender quotas have been widely studied as affecting parties’ attitudes towards gender equality, candidates’ selection procedures represent one of the most important, although still understudied, features internal to party organisation that have an impact of women’s representation. By taking the Italian 2013 elections as a case study, our empirical analysis shows that inclusive selection methods, such as open primaries, increase female candidates chances to get elected in comparison to other, more exclusive methods, such as selection by party leadership.
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