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Today is International Women’s Day. USAPP Managing Editor, Chris Gilson, rounds up ten important articles which look at and celebrate women’s representation and experiences in US politics and society. 


  1. Women Senators lead to higher levels of political engagement by women constituents. – October 3rd, 2014 

Kim Fridkin 80x108Patrick Kenney 80x108In less than thirty years, women’s representation in the Senate has gone from two to twenty. In new research, Kim L. Fridkin and Patrick J. Kenney look at how this shift has influenced people’s understanding of, and engagement in, politics. Using election survey data, they find that women constituents tend to know more about their senators than males and that they are also more likely to be politically active if their senator is a woman. Read more… 


  1. On average, women in Congress are more effective lawmakers than men. – September 20th, 2013 

Craig Volden 80x108Alan Wiseman 80x108Dana Wittmer 80x108The growing representation of women in the House and Senate has spurred new questions about differences between male and female legislators. By tracking nearly 140,000 public bills introduced into the House from 1973 to 2008, Craig VoldenAlan E. Wiseman, and Dana E. Wittmer have been able to measure the effectiveness of legislators at moving their bills through the house. They find that on average, female legislators, especially those in the minority party, are more effective than men.Read more… 


  1. Women are more responsive to female Senators’ records, which may increase accountability – March 6th, 2014 

Phil Jones 80x108Descriptive representation (being represented by someone who shares your demographic characteristics) and substantive representation (being represented by someone who shares your policy preferences) are both important components of the legislator-constituent relationship.  Some have suggested that descriptive representation breeds blind loyalty to politicians, which can weaken accountability for their actions. Philip Edward Jones evaluates the effects of descriptive representation of gender on female voters. He finds that while women are not more likely approve of a politician because of her gender, they are more knowledgeable about and responsive to female senators’ records and adjust their assessments accordingly. Read more… 


  1. With enough women, majority based decision making rules can help foster communication processes that support women’s authority – May 30th, 2014 

J Baxter Oliphant 80x108Tali Mendelberg 80x108Christopher F Karpowitz 80x108Recent years have seen growing calls for the greater representation of women in political bodies and corporate boards. But does greater representation for women lead to more power in decision making? Using data from an empirical study of group interaction around deliberation, J. Baxter OliphantTali Mendelbergand Christopher F. Karpowitz find that the rules around how decisions are made matter; when decisions are majority-based, and there are enough women to control the decision, then men begin to treat women with more respect. When decisions need to be unanimous, minority men are empowered and do not modify their behavior towards women. Read more… 


  1. The rise of personal computers has helped to narrow the wage gap between men and women. – July 10th, 2014 

Paul Beaudry 80x108Ethan Lewis 80x108In the past four decades the gap in pay between men and women has progressively narrowed, though it remains a prominent feature of the labor market. In new research Paul Beaudry and Ethan Lewis find that much of the decline in the gender wage gap can be attributed to the growing take up of personal computers (PCs) in the workplace. They also find that the more educated a market’s workers are, the more beneficial it is to adopt PCs, as they raise the skills of those in cognitive jobs more than in others. Read more… 


  1. In Mexico, women can take increased roles in local politics in response to the ‘crisis’ of migration to the U.S. – July 14th, 2014 

Abigail Andrews 80x108Many communities in Mexico have been deeply affected by the large-scale emigration of workers to the U.S. Abigail Andrews examines the effects of migration on one such village, San Miguel. She finds that far from a source of “freedom,” for this community migration was a source of strain. She writes that with so many people having left the village to work in the U.S., the community’s system of participatory self-government was in crisis. Meanwhile, in the U.S., migrants from San Miguel faced persecution and abuse, since most of them were undocumented immigrants. This drove several migrant women of the village to return home. When the women returned, they took on central roles in local politics, in order to protect their communal way of life and sustain an alternative to living in the United States. Read more… 


  1. Exposure to discussion and disagreement does not discourage women from political participation any more than men. – March 29th, 2017 

Scholarly work has found that there is a consistent gap in political campaign activism between men and women. One potential explanation, grounded in social psychology, is that women have greater exposure to disagreement and resource disparities, which makes them less likely to participate politically. In new research, Paul A. DjupeScott D. McClurgand Anand E. Sokhey examine social networks and political participation over time, finding that while women can be less likely to campaign if exposed to political disagreement, this effect is not consistent over time. They also find that access to social expertise – usually from men – can help women to overcome the effects of resource disparities on their political activity. Read more… 


  1. The right kind of performance feedback narrows the gender gap in political engagement – May 28th, 2016 

1008-08 Preece, Jessica 26 Photos of Jessica Preece for Political Science requested by Lizzy Haugen. August 5, 2010 Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Copyright BYU Photo 2010 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu (801)422-7322Research shows that statistically women involve themselves less in politics than do men. But why is this the case, and what can we do about it? Here, Jessica Robinson Preece argues that the kind of feedback that women receive from their attempts to engage in politics is important in determining whether they will continue to participate. Read more… 


  1. Five minutes with Susan J. Carroll on women in politics: “There’s no question that some of the barriers are starting to come down, but others still remain” – January 30th 2015 

Susan Caroll 80x108With the seeming inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s nomination in 2016, the next presidential election may be the first in history to result in a woman president. Tcoincide with an recent event at the LSE,USAPP editor, Chris Gilson and Democratic Audit’s Sean Kippin, spoke to Professor Susan Carroll, author of ‘More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures’ on the likelihood of a Clinton presidency and on the challenges faced by aspirant female politicians and established woman leaders. Read more… 


  1. If party leaders want more women to run, they need to convince them that the “old boys’ network” will support them too. February 8th, 2017 

1008-08 Preece, Jessica 26 Photos of Jessica Preece for Political Science requested by Lizzy Haugen. August 5, 2010 Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Copyright BYU Photo 2010 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu (801)422-7322Despite the growing profile of many women politicians, women are still underrepresented in political office. One potential reason for this representation gap is the difficulty political elites face in convincing women to run. In new research, Jessica Preece used a randomized survey of more than 3,600 elected American municipal officials to determine how they reacted to an offer from a party official to help a new recruit. She finds that while male officials believed that they would be given support by a party chair, women did not. Her findings show that it is important for recruiters to explain all of the concrete ways in which they are prepared to help women recruits to build a successful campaign. Read more…


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Note:  This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of USAPP– American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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