Politics and the glass cliff: Evidence that women are preferentially selected to contest hard-to-win seat
Ryan, Michelle K.
Haslam, S. Alexander
Psychology of Women Quarterly
SAGE / Wiley Blackwell
Recent archival and experimental research by Ryan and Haslam (2005, 2007; Haslam & Ryan, 2008) has revealed that women are more likely than men to be appointed to leadership positions when an organization is in crisis. As a result, women often confront a “glass cliff” in which their position as leader is precarious. Our first archival study examined the 2005 UK General Election and found that, in the Conservative Party, women contested harder-to-win seats than did men. Our second study experimentally investigated the selection of a candidate by 80 undergraduates in a British political science class to contest a by-election in a seat that was either safe (held by own party with a large margin) or risky (held by an opposition party with a large margin). Results indicated that a male candidate was more likely than a woman to be selected to contest a safe seat, but there was a strong preference for a woman rather than a male appointment when the seat was described as hard to win. Implications for women’s participation in politics are discussed.
This is a postprint of an article published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2010, Vol. 34, pp. 56 – 64 © 2010 copyright SAGE Publications. Psychology of Women Quarterly is available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1471-6402
Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2010, Vol. 34, pp. 56 - 64