Preprint Open Access
This article aims to solve the puzzle of a persisting gender gap in Austrian national parliament after the introduction of voluntary gender quotas at the party level (“post-quota gender gap”). Preparliamentary careers of 703 members of parliament (Nationalratsabgeordnete) are studied using social sequence analysis to understand to what extent men and women benefit from the same political opportunities. The study´s main insight is that the gap mostly stems from a gender skew on local career pathways to parliament—that is, career transitions from local politics to the national parliament are found to be male-dominated in parties with bottom-up candidate selection procedures. On a general level, the case study highlights a vicious link in a federal state architecture: In Austria, with its nine states and over two thousand cities and municipalities, the gender gap at the local level significantly plays out at the national level.