Representing women, women representing: backbenchers' questions during Prime Minister's questions, 1979-2010

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  • Lancaster University


This article investigates linguistic traces of changing trends in the substantive representation of women and broader representational claims related to constituencies, via an analysis of all backbench questions posed during Prime Minister's Questions in the UK House of Commons, 1979-2010. We investigate the impact of sharp increases in female MPs and left-wing female MPs in particular, and the presence of a left-wing government on MPs' talk about women and about constituencies. We find no evidence of curvilinear trends in talk about women related to changes in government and female parliamentary presence. We also find that female MPs can be considered critical actors with regard to constituency talk.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237–256
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Politics & Gender
Issue number2
Early online date23 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Corpus Linguistics, Parliament, Parliamentary Questions, Prime Minister's Questions, Substantive Representation, Women