This study explores the relationship between women’s representation in political power and school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a cross-country dataset in Europe, we document a striking negative relationship between the share of female members in national governments and school closures. We show that a one standard deviation increase in female members of national governments is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of school lockdowns by 24% relative to the average share of school closures. This result is robust to an extensive set of sensitivity checks. We attribute this pattern to a higher awareness of female politicians about the potential costs that school closures imply for families.
- political economy
- school closures