Representing their own? Ethnic minority women in the Dutch Parliament

Liza M. Mugge*, Daphne J. van der Pas, Marc van de Wardt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnic minority women tend to be better represented in parliaments than ethnic minority men. What does this mean for their substantive representation? This article makes use of intersectional analysis to study how the relationship between descriptive and substantive representation differs within and between gender and ethnic groups. Drawing on written parliamentary questions and the committee memberships of MPs in seven parliamentary sessions (1995-2012) in the Netherlands, a strong link is found between descriptive and substantive representation. Female ethnic minority MPs more often sit on committees and table questions that address ethnic minority women's interests than male ethnic minority and female ethnic majority MPs. The link, however, is fragile as it is based on a small number of active MPs. This demonstrates the importance of an intersectional approach to understanding how representation works in increasingly diverse parliaments, which cannot be captured by focusing on gender or ethnicity alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-727
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2019


  • Intersectionality
  • minorities
  • parliamentary questions
  • substantive representation
  • descriptive representation


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