We always hear that having more women in office is some version of “good.” But what does that mean, exactly? And where’s the data? Stephenie Foster, a long time supporter and guest contributor to Fem2.0, lays out the specifics regarding democratic governance, critical mass, and constituent service:
The political empowerment of women is one of the defining characteristics of the 20th century. Women fought for and gained the right to vote in most countries in the 20th century and increasingly ran for, and were elect to, office. In addition to holding approximately 20% of all parliamentary seats worldwide, women serve as presidents and prime ministers. Women have used their power to raise issues in the policy arena, and research has shown that women in elected office make a difference.
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Several studies show that increased numbers of women in office results in “better” governance practices, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines and more sustainable conflict resolution. In the US, research shows that women legislators are more likely to engage in constituent service than their male colleagues. In a survey of state legislators in four states, women legislators believed they ‘put more emphasis on constituency service than the typical legislator in my state’. These women legislators reported receiving significantly more requests for constituency casework than did their similarly situated male colleagues.
Want to read more? Check out the rest of Stephenie’s article at CONNECT!