“We have to work ten times harder”
Poel, Nanda van der
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Women are underrepresented in the Dutch municipal councils, with considerable disagreement on the mechanisms behind this unequal representation of gender. Therefore, this study is based on the hurdles that politically interested or ambitious women must overcome to become an elected municipal councillor in their municipal council. A qualitative analysis of twenty semi-structured interviews was conducted to analyse these mechanisms. The inclusion criteria were being a woman, a member of a political party, of voting age and some amount of political interest or ambition. The main outcome of this study is that women feel that they have to work harder than male peers for the same amount of political opportunities. The women feel like they have to prove themselves more, feel scrutinized and belittled. However, they often do feel supported by likeminded people, either in politics or from their personal social networks. The conclusion of this paper is that in order to achieve a more equal gender balance, a radical change of the current hostile political culture is needed.