UCL Institute of the Americas


Malu Gatto

Dr Malu Gatto

Assistant Professor of Latin American Politics

Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

Outreach/Widening Participation Officer

Inclusion Lead


Dr Malu Gatto


Malu A. C. Gatto is Assistant Professor of Latin American Politics at the UCL Institute of the Americas. Previously, she was postdoctoral researcher (Oberassistentin) at the Department of Political Science of the University of Zurich and a Research Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (in Washington, D.C.).

Dr Gatto received her DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford in 2016. She also holds an MSc in Politics Research (2012) from the same institution, and a BA (2011) from Barnard College, Columbia University.

In broad terms, Dr Gatto’s work explores questions about the gendered dynamics of political behaviour, representation, and policy-making with a regional focus on Latin America. Although many of her research projects are comparative, she frequently employs native and academic knowledge to develop work on Brazil

Research summary

Malu's main current project consists of a book manuscript. Titled Insecure Men: Political Ambition and Resistance to Gender Quotas, it is the first work to tackle the puzzle of why male-dominated legislatures adopt gender quotas from an individual-level perspective. She argues that when confronted with increasing pressures for quota adoption, male legislators actively seek to lessen the threats of the policy to their careers by designing quotas with weak provisions. To develop this argument, the book reconstructs processes of gender quota adoptions and revisions in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Chile, and employs archival data, elite interviews, a survey experiment, as well as observational cross-national data from all countries in Latin America.

In the field of political representation, her other projects include work on the potential impacts of Dilma Rousseff's impeachment to women's symbolic representation in Brazil; voters' gendered preferences and politicians' personal characteristics; gendered dynamics of coalitional presidentialism in Brazil and Chile; and, the ways in which informal recruitment practices undermine the impacts of the gender quota in Brazil.

In the field of political behavior, she is also developing projects on electoral capital and legislators' strategic voting behaviour in the latest Brazilian political reform bill; the sources of male-female competition and their relation to voter behaviour in the United States; and, the global resistance of state-sponsored trade unions after democratic transitions. You can read more about her ongoing projects and publications here.

Teaching Summary


AMER0052: Gender, Politics and Society of the Americas

Postgraduate Taught:

AMER0042: Gender, Politics, and Public Policy in Latin America

Research supervision

Dr Gatto welcomes applications from those interested in undertaking PhD research on topics related to political behaviour; political representations; electoral participation and electoral systems; gender, politics and public policy; and Brazilian politics.

Media appearances

Please visit our Staff Media Appearances pages