Getting to the Top: Career Paths of Women in Latin American Cabinets

Authored by: Maria Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Year: 2009
Citation: Escobar-Lemmon, Maria, and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson. "Getting to the Top: Career Paths of Women in Latin American Cabinets." Political Research Quarterly 62, no. 4 (2009): 685-99.

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Are presidential cabinets gendered institutions? This important question has been ignored for Latin America to date. In this article, the authors propose four benchmarks for evaluating whether presidential cabinets should be classified as gendered institutions. If they are we should observe (1) that there are differences in career length, continuity, and mobility between men and women; (2) that women receive feminine domain posts and men masculine ones; (3) that masculine ministries offer greater potential for upward mobility; and (4) that women must be better qualified than men to receive appointments. Using data from eighteen Latin American countries from 1980 to 2003, the authors analyze the degree to which cabinets conform to these criteria. They conclude that even though women are starting to gain appointments to high-profile and to masculine domain cabinet posts, the overall evidence supports the conclusion that there are gendered patterns to cabinet appointments.