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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

Gender, Debate and Rebellion in the House of Commons, 1992 - 2015: A Structural Topic Modelling Approach Seminar

5 December 2018
Building 58 Room 4121 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Centre for Citizenship, Governance and Globalization (C2G2) at .

Event details

Part of the C2G2 series 2018/19. All welcome.


The number of women in the British House of Commons has increased substantially over the last quarter century. But how has the increasing number of women MPs shaped politics in Britain? We address this question by examining women MPs' participation in parliamentary debate using transcripts from more than 400,000 speeches made in the House of Commons between 1992 and 2015. In addition to examining whether women participate at a similar rate to their male colleagues, we examine whether their participation is associated with particular debate topics using a structural topic model. We find that certain debate topics in parliament are gendered, with men associated with foreign affairs for example, and women associated with children, families and education. However, the prevalence of these topics does not seem to vary over time with the number of women in parliament. Moreover, we find that women are underrepresented in parliamentary debates, controlling for party and seat share, often even on debates associated with women's topics. If women MPs' participation shapes policy and impacts political representation, their underrepresentation in debate may have significant normative implications for democracy.

Speaker information

Professor Jonathan Slapin, University of Essex. Professor of Government

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