Gendered Governing? Women’s Leadership Styles and Participatory Institutions in Brazil

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16 Scopus citations


Previous research argues that the leadership styles of men and women differ significantly, with women’s styles being more inclusive and participatory. I test this argument by examining whether women elected officials are more likely to increase citizen participation using data on the adoption of two different types of participatory institutions in Brazilian municipalities: participatory budgeting and participatory policy councils. Results suggest that women leaders are not inherently more participatory than men. Rather, the decision to initiate participation in a certain policy area appears to be a strategic choice. Mayors of both genders are likely to initiate participation in policy areas that appeal to constituents of the opposite gender and counter stereotypes: men are more likely to adopt participatory councils for women’s rights, children’s rights, and health care, while women are more likely to adopt a council for sports. These findings suggest that women’s styles of leadership are not inherently more inclusive than men’s. It appears that strategy, rather than style, likely determines whether a leader will be more inclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-578
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 13 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Latin America
  • gender
  • leadership styles
  • local governments
  • participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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