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Women in Presidential Cabinets: Power Players or Abundant Tokens?, Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson

Reviewed by Ingrid Bego



As the number of women in cabinet positions has increased worldwide in the twenty-first century, the question of how meaningful these types of appointments are for women's political representation and advancement has yet to be comprehensively answered. It is often speculated that women appointees are less qualified, lack the necessary experience, and are merely appointed as symbolic tokens for governments to pay lip service to equality. Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson's contribution sets out to change that, using empirical systematic data. The authors ambitiously and meticulously examine not only how and where women are appointed to cabinets but also the skills and qualifications that men and women ministers bring to the table. Their findings demonstrate that women are now part of the decision-making process in the executive branch, in most cases, no differently than men.

Using empirical analysis from five presidential democracies (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and the United States) Escobar-Lemmon and Taylor-Robinson walk us through the possible integration and incorporation of women in cabinet positions in these countries. To understand the true contributions of female cabinet members, they focus their analysis on the type of political capital resources (PCRs) women may bring to the administration. The authors then an

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