Swiss Political Science Review vol:14 issue:4 pages:767-793
In Belgium, gender-parity has been compulsory for all party lists (in local, regional, federal and European elections) for several years. As a result, the proportion of women has risen from a fourth up to a third of the deputies. Yet, strict parity is still far from realised. This article seeks to establish what causes this glass ceiling, namely the parties' reluctance to place female candidates in the top positions or even as the front-runner. In a proportional representation system with half-open lists, and especially when the constituencies are small, this automatically leads to a smaller proportion of women among the elected deputies. One important reason for the parties' reluctance to rank female candidates higher is their assumption that women are less effective as "election locomotives" than men. However, the analysis of the Belgian election results makes clear that this is not the case. Female candidates in top positions are as successful as their male counterparts.