Historically, men have been more likely to be appointed to governing cabinets, but gendered patterns of appointment vary cross-nationally, and women's inclusion in cabinets has grown significantly over time. This book breaks new theoretical ground by conceiving of cabinet formation as a gendered, iterative process governed by rules that empower and constrain presidents and prime ministers in the criteria they use to make appointments. Political actors use their agency to interpret and exploit ambiguity in rules to deviate from past practices of appointing mostly men. When they do so, they create different opportunities for men and women to be selected, explaining why some democracies have appointed more women to cabinet than others. Importantly, this dynamic produces new rules about women's inclusion and, as this book explains, the emergence of a concrete floor, defined as a minimum number of women who must be appointed to a cabinet to ensure its legitimacy. Drawing on in-depth analyses of seven countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and elite interviews, media data, and autobiographies of cabinet members, Cabinets, Ministers, and Gender offers a cross-time, cross-national study of the gendered process of cabinet formation.
This meticulously researched book significantly extends our analyses of cabinet formation and how its associated processes are gendered. Through the comparative analysis of seven cases, spanning presidential and parliamentary systems in Europe, the Americas, and Australia, the authors develop a rigorous new analytical framework that furthers our understanding, particularly in the use of their new conceptual tool, the 'concrete floor'. This book deserves to be widely read * Georgina Waylen, Professor of Politics, University of Manchester * Women presidents and women legislators have been extensively studied, buttressed by sophisticated theoretical frameworks that explain their pathways to power. Nonetheless, up until now, how, when, and why women become cabinet ministers have been questions largely left unanswered. Annesley, Beckwith, and Franceschet provide a path-breaking and conceptually sophisticated analysis of women cabinet ministers. In what promises to become a seminal book, this cross-national, cross-time study employs a sophisticated qualitative methodology to account for the forces that bring women cabinet ministers to power. * Peter M. Siavelis, Professor and Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University * This book is a must-read for anyone interested in gender and the executive branch, and indeed for students of executive politics more generally. Focusing on seven democracies, the authors identify the rules and norms that govern ministerial selection in each country. They identify the experiential, affiliational, and representational criteria that shape access to power. Importantly, they convincingly demonstrate that the strongest predictor of women's presence in cabinets is the establishment of gendered representational criteria that demand women's inclusion. Their conceptual framework, paired with their rich qualitative data, has resulted in a book that is not only an important scholarly contribution, but also a pleasure to read. * Diana O'Brien, Rice University * Cabinets, Ministers, and Gender provides ground-breaking insight into the factors that explain changing patterns of women's representation in executives. The cross-national and over time perspective allows the authors to isolate causal factors and to develop deep insights into how 'concrete' floors gain their strength, as well as what factors threaten to undermine them. * Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership and Professor of Politics, King's College London *