Following the 2016 British referendum, Theresa May was officially appointed as PM. She was classed as a weak PM, and her legacy was considered a huge failure in Brexit negotiations. Yet, few analyses focus on how she became a PM in such a challenging moment for UK-EU relations. This article explores the paths that lead May to this position, based on the glass cliff literature. Then, May’s brinkmanship strategy on Brexit is analysed in light of Complex Adaptive Systems’ approach to crises. We apply the CDE model to understand May’s response to the Brexit vote. Finally, the concept of men glass cushion will be introduced to explain May’s replacement by Boris Johnson. This work joins efforts to employ perspectives from other areas, such as administration and psychology, to understand women in leadership roles and to bring light to the study of gender in politics.
Brexit; Gender Politics; Glass Cliff; United Kingdom; Theresa May; Complex Adaptive Systems
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