Noted with Interest

The US state of New Hampshire now has more female senators than male in the upper house of state government.

After [the November 4] election, thirteen of the twenty-four state Senate seats in New Hampshire are now occupied by women. Peggy Gilmore (District 12), Bette Lasky (District 13) and Amanda Merrill (District 21) beat out their Republican opponents to join the eight Democratic female incumbents (and two Republican women) in the upper chamber.

Any comparable results out there in euro-land?

12 thoughts on “Noted with Interest

  1. Most of us here in the “euro-land” don’t have upper houses or federal forms of government.

    But for “comparable results”, the female majority in the Spanish and Finnish governments is old news.

    When it comes to local government, the city council of Hämeenlinna, for example, has a female majority.


    J. J.

  2. For what it’s worth, I count 12 upper houses at the national level for EU members — including the seven largest by population — in the chart Julien points to.

    And of course a majority of the government is different from a majority of the chamber. No big points to make here; just interested. (And New Hampshire’s lower house has 400 members from a population of about 1.3 million, another outlier.)

  3. Jalonen makes it clear that (s)he is talking about Spanish and Finnish members of the Government, not members of the upper house of parliament.

    Wether that’s comparable or not, I can’t tell. The New Hampshire State Senators are presumably all directly elected, but running a ministry is probably a more important job.

  4. Exactly what’s not correct? That the cabinets in Spain and Finland started out as female-majority cabinets?

    Sorry, Julien, but they did, and the figures that you quoted do not contradict that fact.

    Read closely: I was speaking of _governments_, not the legislatures. And in countries with unicameral legislatures, cabinets usually take care of those matters which elsewhere might be considered as the purview of the “upper houses”. That’s why I brought it up.

    Granted, Spain does actually have an upper house, so that may not be the comparison that Douglas was looking for. But well, what was the issue? The proportional position of women in government institutions in general, or the proportional position of women only in upper houses of bicameral legislatures on the state level in federal systems?

    The first one sounds like worth a discussion to me, the second one sounds like deliberately zeroing in on a somewhat peculiar detail, for reasons that at least I would not understand.

    Or were you questioning the factuality of my comment that most EU countries – which was presumably what Douglas intended when speaking of this uncapitalized “euro-land” – do not have federal governments or bicameral legislatures?

    Sorry, but once again, there was nothing incorrect in my statement. As Douglas has already noted, the IPU, whose website you quoted, recognizes only twelve bicameral legislatures within the EU, of twenty-seven members. That’s a minority, and in the future, that proportion is likely to decrease as new member states are accepted.

    As for federal forms of government, the EU has exactly three member states with federal forms of government. Plus, if we want to include also strange outliers, the EU is also ruling over one satrapy with a federal form of government.

    And there are some unitary member states which have granted a degree of autonomy to some parts of the country – strangely enough, this would be once again one of those features which Finland and Spain seem to share in common.

    (Sadly, the provincial legislature of Ã…land still has a female minority, so they don’t really compare with New Hampshire.)

    By the way, I’m getting the feeling that you should perhaps consider changing the name of this forum.


    J. J.

  5. Sorry Jussi,

    since you started with the legislative upper house, I somehow overread that your reference was with regard to governments, not parliaments and other legislative bodies.

    So you are correct!

    But at least this mistake has brought up some interesting data… 🙂

  6. What is so important in having women in politics? It has been proven that they can do an equally bad job as the men!

Comments are closed.