In the four-annual Belgian social elections 1.7 million employees elect approximately 65.000 of their colleagues in their enterprise or organization to a formal position as employee representative. These formal elections are the main moment employees are recruited as representatives, and have known strong gender equalization w.r.t. formal participation – presence and position on the ballot, chance of being elected, etc. At the same time, women remain underrepresented in trade union structures, have a lower chance of having a leading position amongst representatives at the enterprise level, have a higher turnover as representative, etc. In this paper we explore the drivers of this gender inequality by focusing on both the formal and informal recruitment processes at the enterprise level. More specifically we look at the experience of employee representatives of the largest Belgian trade union ACV-CSC, during the most recent social elections of May 2016. We do so by drawing on a unique longitudinal four wave survey (2014-2016) of candidate- and elected representatives, with waves bridging the social elections of 2016. This longitudinal dataset is linked with administrative data on individual characteristics, and matched with both enterprise characteristics and a longitudinal dataset of individual candidate and enterprise-level social election outcomes (1995-2016). Using this linked dataset, we look at the evolution and determinants of gender differences in formal outcomes – probability of standing for re-election, being elected, fulfilling a complete term, etc. – and the differences in the subjective experience of the recruitment process.