Young women's citizen participation and the mechanisms underlying it: A multilevel latent-class longitudinal framework

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Education


By the end of 2020, women led only 20 out of the 195 countries recognised by the UN and occupied only a quarter of parliamentary seats globally (UN, 2020). Plenty of evidence indicates that more women in leading roles are needed because their voices result in gender-responsive policy reforms: women's right to be free from gender-based violence, and improvements in women's labour rights (Taylor-Robinson & Heath, 2003; IDEA, 2020).

While the factors that influence women's participation across the political and social spheres are extensively investigated (Coffé & Bolzendahl, 2010), most research has focused on adult population (Treviño et al. 2021; Quaranta, 2019). Very little is known about the paths followed by young women to gain political or economic influence and leadership (Barber & Torney-Purta, 2009). Furthermore, current approaches fail to consider cross-cultural comparability and to link theoretical conceptualizations of political socialization to empirical measurement, particularly among school-age populations.
The overall objective of this research is to investigate the factors and mechanisms that explain different forms of young women's citizen participation across different cultural contexts and with a longitudinal perspective. It will use a political socialization framework, considering gender as a social construct with many political ramifications that depend on cultural and political contexts. For that, it will consider family, school and system processes, like the discussion of social or political topics with family, open classroom discussion, and Global State of Democracy Indices, respectively. It will also consider control variables, like sex, age, ethnicity, among others. The dependent variable will be constructed based on the citizen participation framework created by Miranda, Castillo, and Sandoval-Hernandez (2020), which distinguishes three domains: formal, activist, and community participation.

The overall objective is articulated into six research questions:

RQ1) Can the profiles of women's citizen participation described in the literature (i.e., formal/activist/community) be distinguished in a cross-national sample?
RQ2) To what extent are these profiles validly comparable across countries with different characteristics (i.e. global state of democracy) and over time?
RQ3) What are the family factors associated with each profile?
RQ4) What are the school factors associated with each profile?
RQ5) What are the system factors associated with each profile?
RQ6) Are the factors postulated in the full model stable over time and across countries?

Regarding the methodology, the main data for this project is the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS 2009-2016-2022). ICCS collects data from nationally representative samples of 8th-grade students, their teachers and school principals in several countries (see Schulz, et al., 2018). The analytical strategy will mainly use multigroup latent profile analysis, and multinomial multilevel models.

Collaboration and impact

The research will involve collaboration with the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), including training in advanced quantitative methods. And an overseas visit and collaboration with the members of Inquiry Methodology Lab (led by Dr Rutkowski) at the University of Indiana.

The results of this project will provide elements to understand the mechanisms underlying observed gender-based inequalities in civic participation, which are important because they constitute a threat to the legitimacy of democracy (Levinson, 2007), and ultimately to human rights (UN 2020).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2573257 Studentship ES/P000630/1 04/10/2021 03/10/2025 Natalia Lopez Hornickel