Many factors lie behind women being under-represented in politics, such as an uneven distribution of social, economic, and political resources, or traditional gender role expectations for females. These limitations prevent women from standing for elections. Few empirical studies have been conducted on examining the association between an electoral system, an electoral competition and the gender differences of running for elections and getting elected. This article aims to bridge the gap on this matter by focusing on the influence of the female reserved seat system in Taiwan. As such, this article further discusses if the reserved seat system serves as an incentive for political parties in nominating female candidates. The degree of electoral competition also plays a role in affecting the chances of getting elected. In this article we will examine this issue as well.
By analyzing city and county council election results from 2002 to 2010, with the electoral district and candidates as the unit of analysis, this article concludes that: (1) political parties tend to nominate more female candidates as the electoral magnitude increases; (2) more females are willing to run in the elections as there are more reserved seats available, with the electoral district serving as the unit of analysis. However, the results show that the incumbent, electoral competition, and party nomination are important factors accounting for a female’s success, with candidates as the unit of analysis; (3) the more competitive the electoral districts are, the less possible it is for females to run in elections and get elected.