IZA Discussion Paper No. 15975

Women in Political Power and School Closure during COVID Times

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.

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