Abstract: This thematic issue provides the first comprehensive overview of women opposition leaders and their performance. Setting the stage for a new research agenda, this editorial piece integrates theoretical and empirical insights at the intersection of three distinct research areas: political opposition, political leadership, and gender and politics. It discusses various notions of opposition leaders and identifies three main lines of inquiry: (a) career pathways and trajectories, (b) patterns of selection and de-selection, and (c) the actual and perceived performance of women’s oppositional leadership. Applying a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, this collection of original articles captures the diversity of women opposition leaders, their career trajectories, and their exercise of leadership across different political regimes and world regions.
Keywords: autocracy; democracy; gender; leadership performance; opposition leaders; parliaments; political opposition; regime type; Westminster model; women