What determines who gets elected to the local council? The article discusses key findings from previous research on recruitment to local politics in general and gender balance in particular. We first present some synoptic perspectives on gender balance and imbalance in politics, before we outline a model that provides an overview of various explanatory factors. In the following sections, we discuss some of these factors in more detail: the parties’ and the voters’ demand for female candidates, the supply of female candidates, as well as norms and the public sphere. The article concludes with a discussion of potential measures. Here we emphasize the need for local assessments: a strategy for improving the gender balance should be based on the causes of imbalance in each specific situation.