Political Empowerment

Clayton, Amanda. “Women's Political Engagement Under Quota-Mandated Female Representation Evidence From a Randomized Policy Experiement”. Comparative Political Studies 48.3 (2015): , 48, 3, 333-369. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Do affirmative action measures for women in politics change the way constituents view and interact with their female representatives? A subnational randomized policy experiment in Lesotho with single-member districts reserved for female community councilors provides causal evidence to this question. Using survey data, I find that having a quota-mandated female representative either has no effect on or actuallyreduces several dimensions of women’s self-reported engagement with local politics. In addition, implications from the policy experiment suggest that the quota effect is not accounted for by differences in qualifications or competence between the different groups of councilors, but rather stems from citizens’ negative reactions to the quota’s design.

De Lange, Sarah, and Liza Mügge. “Gender and Right-wing Populism in the Low Countries: Ideological Variations Across Parties and Time”. Patterns of Prejudice (2015): , 1-20. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Although scholarship on the general ideological orientation of right-wing populist parties is well established, few scholars have studied their ideas about gender. De Lange and Mügge therefore ask how differences in ideology shape right-wing populist parties' ideas on gender. Drawing on the qualitative content analysis of party manifestos, they compare the gender ideologies and concrete policy proposals of national and neoliberal populist parties in the Netherlands and Flanders from the 1980s to the present. They find that some parties adhere to a modern or modern-traditional view, while others espouse neo-traditional views. Moreover, some right-wing populist parties have adopted gendered readings of issues surrounding immigration and ‘Islam’, while others have not. The variation in stances on ‘classical’ gender issues can be explained by the genealogy and ideological orientation of the parties, whereas gendered views on immigration and Islam are influenced by contextual factors, such as 9/11.
Clayton, Amanda, Cecilia Josefsson, and Vibeke Wang. “Present Without Presence? Gender, Quotas and Debate Recognition in the Ugandan Parliament”. Representation 50.3 (2014): , 50, 3, 379-392. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article charts a new direction in gender quota research by examining whether female legislators in general, and quota recipients in particular, are accorded respect and authority in plenary debates. We measure this recognition in relation to the number of times an individual member of parliament (MP) is referred to by name in plenary debates. We use a unique dataset from the Ugandan parliament to assess the determinants of MP name recognition in plenary debates over an eight-year period (2001–08). Controlling for other possible determinants of MP recognition, we find that women elected to reserved seats are significantly less recognised in plenary debates over time as compared to their male and female colleagues in open seats.

Sen, Maya. “How Minority Judicial Candidates Have Changed, but the ABA Ratings Gap Has Not”. Judicature 98.1 (2014): , 98, 1, 46-53. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study presents an exploration of trends in the American Bar Association ratings of minority judicial candidates over time. Notably, the demographics of minority candidates have changed over time, with minority candidates increasingly resembling white candidates in terms of their educational and professional profiles. However, minority candidates are still more likely to receive lower ratings from the ABA than their white counterparts.

Sen, Maya, and Adam Glynn. “Identifying Judicial Empathy: Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women's Issues?”. American Journal of Political Science (2014): , 1-18. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this article, we consider whether personal relationships can affect the way that judges decide cases. To do so, we leverage the natural experiment of a child's gender to identify the effect of having daughters on the votes of judges. Using new data on the family lives of U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, we find that, conditional on the number of children a judge has, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more feminist fashion on gender issues than judges who have only sons. This result survives a number of robustness tests and appears to be driven primarily by Republican judges. More broadly, this result demonstrates that personal experiences influence how judges make decisions, and this is the first article to show that empathy may indeed be a component in how judges decide cases.

Sen, Maya. “How Judicial Qualification Ratings May Disadvantage Minority and Female Candidates”. Journal of Law and Courts 21 (2014): , 2, 1, 33-65. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper uses two new datasets to investigate the reliance by political actors on the external vetting of judicial candidates, in particular vetting conducted by the nation's largest legal organization, the American Bar Association (ABA). First, I demonstrate that poorly rated lower-court nominees are significantly more likely to have their nominations fail before the Senate. However, I also show that minority and female nominees are more likely than whites and males to receive these lower ratings, even after controlling for education, experience, and partisanship via matching. Furthermore, by presenting results showing that ABA ratings are unrelated to judges' ultimate reversal rates, I show that these scores are a poor predictor of how nominees perform once confirmed. The findings in this paper complicate the ABA's influential role in judicial nominations, both in terms of its utility in predicting judicial "performance" and also in terms of possible implicit biases against minority candidates, and suggest that political actors rely on these ratings perhaps for reasons unrelated to the courts.

Sen, Maya. “Quantifying Discrimination: Exploring the Role of Race and Gender and the Awarding of Subprime Mortgage Loans”. (2012). Print.Abstract

The recent subprime mortgage crisis has brought to the forefront the possibility of discriminatory lending on the basis of race or gender. Using the over 10 million observations collected by the federal government in 2006 through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, this paper explores these claims causally. In so doing, the paper explores two possible theories of discrimination: (1) that any discriminatory lending patterns are picking up the fact that minority borrowers went to different lenders, perhaps as a result of predatory lending, and (2) the possibility that individual lenders discriminated against identically situated borrowers. The results presented provide limited evidence for the idea that borrowers of different races went to different lenders, but only in certain regions of the country and only for certain minority groups. In addition, many of these results are sensitive to missing confounders – e.g., financial data like credit scores and down payments, which the federal government does not collect. Ultimately, the results’ sensitivity suggests that more data gathering is in order before definitive assertions can be made by legal and policy actors.

Beaman, Lori, Rohini Pande, and Alexandra Cirone. “Chapter 14: Politics as a Male Domain and Empowerment in India”. The Impact of Gender Quotas. Oxford University Press, 2012. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
  • First comparative, multi-country study of the impact of gender quotas across descriptive, substantive and symbolic dimensions of representation
  • Bridges literatures of gender quotas and women's political representation
  • Uses case studies from twelve countries to build broad theories about gender quotas and women's representation
Beaman, Lori A, et al.Female Leadership Raises Aspirations and Educational Attainment for Girls: A Policy Experiment in India”. Science 335.6068 (2012): , 335, 6068, 582-586. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Exploiting a randomized natural experiment in India, we show that female leadership influences adolescent girls’ career aspirations and educational attainment. A 1993 law reserved leadership positions for women in randomly selected village councils. Using 8453 surveys of adolescents aged 11 to 15 and their parents in 495 villages, we found that, relative to villages in which such positions were never reserved, the gender gap in aspirations closed by 20% in parents and 32% in adolescents in villages assigned a female leader for two election cycles. The gender gap in adolescent educational attainment was erased, and girls spent less time on household chores. We found no evidence of changes in young women’s labor market opportunities, which suggests that the impact of women leaders primarily reflects a role model effect.

Available on the Gender Action Portal:

Bowles, Hannah Riley. “Claiming Authority: How Women Explain their Ascent to Top Business Leadership Positions”. (2012). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Career stories of 50 female executives from major corporations and high-growth entrepreneurial ventures suggest two alternative accounts of how women legitimize their claims to top leadership positions: navigating and pioneering. In navigating accounts, the women legitimized their claims to top authority positions by following well institutionalized paths of career advancement (e.g., high performance in line jobs) and self-advocating with the gatekeepers of the social hierarchy (e.g., bosses, investors). In pioneering accounts, the women articulated a strategic vision and cultivated a community of support and followership around their strategic ideas and leadership. The career stories suggested that, when the women’s authority claims were not validated, they engaged in narrative identity work to revise their aspirations and legitimization strategies. Sometimes narrative identity work motivated women to shift from one type of account to another, particularly from navigating to pioneering. Based on inductive analyses of these 50 career stories, I propose a process model of how women legitimize their claims to top leadership positions by recursively resetting career accounts as authority claims succeed or fail.

Pande, Rohini, and Deanna Ford. Gender Quotas and Female Leadership: A Review. World Development Report on Gender, 2011. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Gender Quotas and Female Leadership: A Review

Beaman, Lori, et al.Political Reservation and Substantive Representation: Evidence from Indian Village Councils”. India Policy Forum 2010-2011. New Delhi, India: NCAER, 2011. Web. Publisher's Version politicalreservationandsubstantiverepresentation.pdf
Beaman, Lori, et al.Can Political Affirmative Action for Women Reduce Gender Bias?”. Vox 2009. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Beaman, Lori A, et al.Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?”. Quarterly Journal of Economics 124.4 (2009): , 124, 4, 1497-1540. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We exploit random assignment of gender quotas for leadership positions on Indian village councils to show that prior exposure to a female leader is associated with electoral gains for women. After ten years of quotas, women are more likely to stand for, and win, elected positions in councils required to have a female chief councilor in the previous two elections. We provide experimental and survey evidence on one channel of influence—changes in voter attitudes. Prior exposure to a female chief councilor improves perceptions of female leader effectiveness and weakens stereotypes about gender roles in the public and domestic spheres.

Available on the Gender Action Portal:

Mansbridge, Jane, and Shauna L Shames. “Toward a Theory of Backlash: Dynamic Resistance and the Central Role of Power”. Politics & Gender 44 (2008): , 4, 4, 623-634. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

To understand backlash theoretically, we must first carve out an analytically useful term from the cluster of its common political associations. In colloquial usage, “backlash” denotes politically conservative reactions to progressive (or liberal) social or political change (Faludi 1991 is a classic in this vein). Here, however, we attempt a nonideological definition of backlash embedded in a more neutral approach to its study. In colloquial usage, backlash includes acts of genuine persuasion as well as of power. Here, however, we suggest that it may be analytically helpful to confine its meaning to acts of coercive power. We draw on the sociological literature on social movements and countermovements, as well as the political science literature on power, preferences, and interests. We focus mostly on examples drawn from the United States and relating to feminism and gender. We begin where the process of backlash itself begins, with power and a challenge to the status quo.

Hunt, Swanee. “Women's Vital Voices: The Costs of Exclusion in Eastern Europe”. Foreign Affairs 86.3 (2007): , 86, 3, 109-120. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The advent of democracy in the former community states of Europe brings both much promise and, as we are learning much peril. For millions, the complexion of life has evolved from red to rose-colored to raw. A monolithic nemesis has been replaced by a perplexing variety of threats to stability in this fragile region, with expressions of democracy frequently drowned out by the noises of intolerance and repression.

Groeling, Tim, Matthew A Baum, and Martie Haselton. “Political Scandal, Gender, and Tabloid News: An Experimental Examination of the Evolutionary Origins of Consumer Preferences for Scandalous News”. (2006). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Building on recent work in evolutionary psychology, we predict substantial gender-related differences in demand for scandalous political news. We argue that individuals’ self-images can alter their motivation to seek information about potential sexual competitors and mates, even when those figures are “virtual”—appearing in mass media. Individuals perceiving themselves as attractive will seek negative news about attractive same-gender individuals, whereas individuals perceiving themselves as unattractive will seek negative information about the opposite gender. We test our hypotheses in three ways. First, we investigate partially disaggregated national opinion data regarding news attention. Second, we conduct an experiment in which we asked participants to choose the two most interesting stories from a menu of headlines. We varied the gender and party affiliation of the individual featured in the story. Each participant saw a headline promoting a DUI arrest of an attractive male or female “rising star” from one of the two parties. Finally, we repeat the experiment with a national sample, this time also varying the valence of the tabloid story. We find strong correlations between respondents’ self-image and their likelihood of seeking and distributing positive or negative information about “virtual” competitors and mates.

Mansbridge, Jane. “Quota Problems: Combating the Dangers of Essentialism”. Politics & Gender 14 (2005): , 1, 4, 622-638. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Increasing the number of women in positions of political power is top priority for women’s movements and for governments around the world. Activists, international institutions, and national governments have come to see gender quota laws as the best way to achieve this goal. In the past 15 years, more than 40 countries have adopted measures that require a certain number of those running for or holding legislative office to be women. Political science research on this topic has hewn closely to empirical questions about this phenomenon: Under what conditions do countries adopt gender quota laws? What impact do they have on the percentage of women elected to office? What difference do “quota women” make once elected? This debate, by contrast, focuses on normative questions about gender quota laws. Are quotas a good idea? Should more countries adopt them? Should the United States consider them? We have invited leading scholars to step back from the more cautious findings of their research to tell us what they really think

Amiri, Rina, Swanee Hunt, and Jennifer Sova. “Transition Within Tradition: Women's Participation in Restoring Afghanistan”. Sex Roles 51.5-6 (2004): , 51, 5-6, 283-291. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The eyes of the world focused on Afghanistan: our global consciousness was awakened to the plight of a population in turmoil. The subjugation of women served as part of a call to arms, another reason used to justify armed conflict half a world away. Images of women in burkas, kept from education, health care, and meaningful work, their myriad talents and skills wasted, helped mobilize the coalition that joined in defeating the Taliban.

Mansbridge, Jane. “Whatever happened to the ERA?”. Women and the U.S. Constitution: History, Interpretation, and Practice. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Women and the U.S. Constitution is about much more than the nineteenth amendment. This provocative volume incorporates law, history, political theory, and philosophy to analyze the U.S. Constitution as a whole in relation to the rights and fate of women. Divided into three parts—History, Interpretation, and Practice—this book views the Constitution as a living document, struggling to free itself from the weight of a two-hundred-year-old past and capable of evolving to include women and their concerns.

Feminism lacks both a constitutional theory as well as a clearly defined theory of political legitimacy within the framework of democracy. The scholars included here take significant and crucial steps toward these theories. In addition to constitutional issues such as federalism, gender discrimination, basic rights, privacy, and abortion, Women and the U.S. Constitution explores other issues of central concern to contemporary women—areas that, strictly speaking, are not yet considered a part of constitutional law. Women’s traditional labor and its unique character, and women and the welfare state, are two examples of topics treated here from the perspective of their potentially transformative role in the future development of constitutional law.