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MPs, gender and work-life balance

A study explored the mechanisms behind gender and individual-level work/life stress among political elites using a comparative perspective between three country cases.
MPs, gender and work-life balance
Work/life stress is known to be caused by the competing and conflicting demands of work and home life spheres. GENDER ELITE (Gender and Work/Life Stress among National Parliamentarians in Comparison) is an EU-funded project that was dedicated to enhancing the understanding the situation for women in European political elites. Particular emphasis was given to women Members of national Parliaments (MPs) and the work/life stress was examined in comparison to men.

Countries covered were the UK, Sweden and Germany. These are representative of a range of welfare state models. Additionally, women political elites are relatively well represented are well-represented in all three countries. General research aims were also included in order to get a wider perspective and add context to gender differences.

A micro-level Survey of the entire male and female population of the Members of Parliament of the UK House of Commons was collected and compared with Swedish and German Members of Parliament. Publicly available data from the European Social Survey for general citizens was also included in the analysis. In addition to gender, time-effect and space-effect were also variables.

Results showed no statistically significant differences between the men and women parliamentarians as regards to work-life stress. There were however significant gender differences in the domain of domestic life and family household among the national parliamentarians. Male parliamentarians were still in an advantageous position as compared to their female colleagues, since they had more support at home, enabling them to focus solely on their political career.

Dissemination of the results has occurred via academic articles and international journals. They will be useful for sociologists and political scientists as well as policymakers.

Related information


Work/life stress, gender, Members of national Parliaments (MPs), gender differences, domestic life
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