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School of Politics and International Relations

Professor Rainbow Murray, BA (Manchester), MRes (London), PhD (London)


Professor of Politics, and Director of Graduate Studies

Telephone: 020 7882 8432
Room Number: Arts One, 2.22
Office Hours: By appointment only - please email to arrange.


Prof. Rainbow Murray is an expert on gender politics, representation and political institutions, with particular expertise in French politics and secondary expertise in British and comparative politics.  She has been at QMUL since 2007, during which time she has also held visiting fellowships at the London School of Economics, the Centre for Research on French Politics (CEVIPOF Paris), and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris). She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Rainbow’s major publications include the books Parties, Gender Quotas and Candidate Selection in France (Palgrave) and Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women’s Campaigns for Executive Office (Praeger).  She is close to completing a third book manuscript exploring the transformative effect of gender quotas on parliamentary representation.  She has also published in journals such as the American Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Political Research Quarterly, Party Politics, and Politics & Gender.  From 2011-15 she co-edited the European Journal of Political Research Political Data Yearbook.  Her current projects include work on merit and quality in political representation, political renewal in the French parliament, the representation of minority men in politics, and the role of campaign finance in political gender gaps.  Her research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the Research Council of Norway, the British Academy and the City of Paris.

Rainbow loves talking about her research and sharing her expertise.  She has provided expert consultancy to bodies such as the European Union, British Council and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and commentary to a variety of domestic and international print and broadcast media.  She has given talks at conferences, university seminars and public events around the world and always relishes the opportunity to exchange ideas with others.  She also greatly enjoys teaching, and was honoured to receive prestigious teaching awards from Queen Mary in 2010 and 2012. She welcomes applications from prospective PhD students within her research areas, broadly defined.

Rainbow was the first Senior Diversity Lead at Queen Mary (2014-6), advising and consulting on equality and diversity issues at every level of the university. Rainbow is currently the Faculty Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences.  She also serves as Director of Graduate Studies within the School. She has offered service to her profession in a number of ways, from convening several research networks to serving on the executive committee of the Political Studies Association.  She was a Commissioner for the LSE Gender Commission.

More information about Rainbow’s research can be found on her website ( and you can also follow her on twitter (@rainbowmurray).


Postgraduate Teaching: Graduate Research Seminar (Semesters A and B)

Undergraduate Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching: POL361 Gender and Politics (Level 6) (Semester A)


Research Interests:

My primary research interests lie in political representation, gender and politics, candidate selection, French and comparative politics, political parties, parliaments and elections. I am currently completing a major project examining the impact of gender quotas on parliamentary representation, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the City of Paris. I am a member of the Money Talks international research team, looking at the role of campaign finance in women’s access to politics.  I am also developing two new projects.  The first looks at merit and the qualities required to be a good representative, using political renewal in the French parliament as a case study.  The second looks at male over-representation and the political representation of men's interests.  Latest developments in my research can be found on my personal website:

I am the co-convenor (with Elin Bjarnegård) of a new international research network on Men in Politics. This network brings together scholars interested in the study of men as gendered political actors. I was also the founding convenor of an international network on Women in French Politics.



Gendered Electoral Financing: Money, Power and Representation in Comparative Perspective (Routledge), co-edited with Ragnhild Muriaas and Vibeke Wang, 2019.

Parties, Gender Quotas and Candidate Selection in France (Palgrave MacMillan), 2010.

Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: a Global Comparison of Women’s Campaigns for Executive Office (Praeger), ed, 2010.

Journal Editorials

Special Issue: “Critical Perspectives on Men and Masculinities in Politics”, Politics & Gender 14(2): 264-293, 2018 (with Elin Bjarnegård).

Co-editor of the European Journal of Political Research Political Data Yearbook (2011-15)

Special Issue: “The French Presidential and Legislative Elections 2012”, Parliamentary Affairs 66(1), 2013 (with Raymond Kuhn)

Special Issue: “Women in French Politics”, Modern and Contemporary France 18(4): 411-503, 2010

Symposium on “Forecasting the French 2007 Elections", French Politics 6(2): 103-165, 2008

Journal Articles

“Revisiting Forms of Representation by Critically Examining Men” (with Elin Bjarnegård). Politics & Gender 14(2): 265-270, 2018.

“Explaining Gender Gaps in Legislative Committees” (with Réjane Sénac). Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 39(3): 310-335, 2018.

“The Political Representation of Ethnic Minority Women in France.” Parliamentary Affairs, 69(3): 586-602, 2016.

“What Makes a Good Politician? Reassessing the Criteria Used for Political Recruitment.” Politics & Gender, 11(4): 770-6, 2015.

“Political Data in 2013” (with Andreas Bågenholm and Kevin Deegan-Krause). European Journal of Political Research Political Data Yearbook53 (1): 1-15, 2014.

“Quotas for Men? Reframing Gender Quotas as a Means of Improving Representation for All.” American Political Science Review, 108(3): 520-532, 2014.

“Quotas, Citizens, and Norms of Representation.” Politics & Gender, 9(3): 304-309, 2013.

“No Longer the Laggard – How France Leapfrogged the UK for Women’s Representation.” Renewal20(4): 48-56, 2013.

“Towards Parity Democracy? Gender Parity in the 2012 French Legislative Elections.” Parliamentary Affairs66(1): 197-212, 2013.

“The French Presidential and Parliamentary Elections” (with Raymond Kuhn). Parliamentary Affairs 66(1): 1-16, 2013.

"Why are Gender Quotas Adopted? Party Pragmatism and Parity in France" (with Mona Lena Krook and Katherine Opello). Political Research Quarterly 65(3): 529-43, 2012.

"Parity in France: A Dual-Track Solution to Women's Under-Representation." West European Politics 35(2): 343-61, 2012

“Political Data in 2011” (with Daniele Caramani and Kevin Deegan-Krause). European Journal of Political Research 51(7-8): 3-23, 2012.

“Progress but Still No Présidente: Women and the French Presidential Elections.” French Politics, Culture and Society 30(3): 45-60, 2012.

“French Lesson: What the UK can Learn from the French Experiment with Gender Parity.” Political Quarterly 83(3): 735-41, 2012.

"Political Data in 2010" (with Daniele Caramani and Kevin Deegan-Krause). European Journal of Political Research 50(7-8): 869-87, 2011.

"Women in French Politics: Still le deuxième sexe?" Modern & Contemporary France 18(4): 411-4,

"Linear Trajectories or Vicious Circles? The Causes and Consequences of Gendered Career Paths in the National Assembly." Modern and Contemporary France 18(4): 445-59, 2010.

"Second Among Unequals? A Study of Whether France's 'Quota Women' are Up to the Job." Politics and Gender 6(1): 93-118, 2010.

"Was 2007 a Landmark or a Letdown for Women's Political Representation in France?" Representation45(1): 29-38, 2009.

"Fifty years of Feminising France's Fifth Republic." Modern & Contemporary France 16(4): 469-82, 2008.

"The Power of Sex and Incumbency: a Longitudinal Study of Electoral Performance in France." Party Politics 14(5): 539-54, 2008.

"Is the Mere Presence of a Strong Female Candidate Enough to Increase the Substantive Representation of Women?" Parliamentary Affairs 61(3): 476-89,

"How a High Proportion of Candidates Becomes a Low Proportion of Députées: A New Model to Forecast Women’s Electoral Performance in French Legislative Elections." French Politics 6(2): 152-65, 2008.

"Introduction: Symposium on Forecasting the French 2007 Elections." French Politics 6(2): 103-5, 2008.

"How Parties Evaluate Compulsory Quotas: A Study of the Implementation of the 'Parity' Law in France." Parliamentary Affairs 60(4): 568-84, 2007.

"Why Didn't Parity Work? A Closer Examination of the 2002 Election Results." French Politics 2(3): 347-62, 2004.

Book chapters

“Mapping ‘Feminist’ Demands Across the French Politics Spectrum,” in K. Celis and S. Childs (eds), Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation, ECPR press, 2014: 231-50. With Réjane Sénac.

“Gender and Party Politics,” in S. Childs and R. Campbell (eds), Deeds and Words: Gendering Politics after Joni Lovenduski, ECPR press, 2014: 73-90. With Sarah Childs.

“Women’s Rights in France,” in L. Xixia and L.R. Basta Fleiner (eds), Protection of Women’s Social Rights, Social Sciences Academic Press, 2013: 334-351.

“Ségolène Royal and Gendered Leadership in France,” in D. Bell and J. Gaffney (eds), The Presidents of the French Fifth Repubic, Palgrave, 2013: 58-77.

“Parity and Legislative Competence in France,” in S. Francheschet, M. L. Krook and J. Piscopo (eds), The Impact of Gender Quotas: Women’s Descriptive, Substantive and Symbolic Representation, Oxford University Press, 2012: 27-42.

“Introduction: gender stereotypes and media coverage of women candidates,” in R Murray (ed), Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: a Global Comparison of Women’s Campaigns for Executive Office, Praeger, 2010: 3-28.

“A new comparative framework,” Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling, 2010: 223-48.

“Ségolène Royal: Madonna and Four Children,” Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling, 49-68.

In Progress

“Transforming Representation?  The Impact of Gender Quotas on the French Parliament." (Monograph)

“The Substantive Representation of Men: Men’s Interests and Male Intersectionality."

“Quotas and the Meritocracy Myth."

“Men and Masculinities in Politics: A Research Agenda." With Elin Bjarnegård.

It's a Rich Man's World: The (Gendered) Costs of Running for Office in the UK.

“All Change? Partisan Realignment and Parliamentary Reform Under Macron.” Chapter in Developments in French Politics 6 (forthcoming).


I would be happy to supervise research students in the following areas:

  • Gender and politics
  • Contemporary French politics
  • Political parties, especially in the areas of candidate selection and electoral behaviour
  • Elections, including voter behaviour, electoral systems and electoral forecasting
  • Political executives and legislatures

Current and former PhD Students:

Farah Hussain. Muslim Women and the Labour Party.

Laura Richards-Gray. What Role do Public Attitudes Towards Welfare Play in Embedding and Perpetuating Gender Inequality in the Welfare State?

Emily Pfefer. The Cloak of Silence: A Critical Analysis of the Relationship Between the Culture of Pay Secrecy and the Gender Pay Gap in UK Higher Education.

Gina Floyd (completed 2015). Are Appeals to Human Rights Effective to Feminist Policymaking in the Abortion Debate in Chile?

Jennifer Thomson (completed 2016). The Politics of Abortion Legislation in Contemporary Northern Ireland