Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Modern Languages

Document Type



This thesis seeks to understand public perceptions of women politicians in Germany, specifically Chancellor Angela Merkel, and evaluates these perceptions based on gender, region, and representation of CDU/CSU female legislators in the Bundestag. While literature suggests that there are benefits of greater female representation in legislatures, there is a lack of research regarding how this representation impacts perceptions held by the citizens these women represent. Important to the study is also the difference in perceptions according to gender and the former East/West divide in order to understand the gender gap in Germany and the extent of the social impact left by the Communist regime. Using bivariate and multivariate tests of an original survey and data from the 2017 Pre-and-Post Election German Longitudinal Election Study, I find significant distinctions across genders toward female legislators in Germany but limited geographical influence. Further data analysis suggests that while greater presence of CDU female legislators negatively impacts perceptions among CDU women of Merkel, the extent or strength of that relationship is unclear. Analysis of interviews of German female politicians provides overall support of the gender bias findings, providing first hand insight into role of gender in German politics.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Timothy Rich, Dr. Laura McGee, Dr. Alexander Olson


International Relations | Models and Methods | Other German Language and Literature | Women's Studies