Rise of the Mama Grizzlies: Rethinking Women’s Descriptive and Substantive Representation in the American States
Bettes, William Mark
University of Kansas
Copyright held by the author.
MetadataShow full item record
Prior theoretical and empirical research focusing on descriptive and substantive representation by gender frequently assumes that the election of women improves substantive representation by moving policy in a feminist-oriented direction. However, these studies often tend to focus on the passage of legislation as a function of women in the legislature and may neglect the important roles played by legislatures and political parties in facilitation (or mitigation) of these policy preferences. Newer empirical research reveals a greater appreciation for the ideological diversity of legislative women, as well as the need to understand the effects institutions have on the individual legislator’s decision-making. This paper tests the strength of the assumed link between descriptive and substantive representation in state legislatures by first placing elected women within the context of the legislature as well as of party. Using logistic regression analyses, I then evaluate the levels of support (sponsorship patterns and voting patterns) present in the highly-partisan policy environment of state-level abortion restrictions—previously thought to be a policy area where women were likely to vote together regardless of party. Overall, I find support for the notion that abortion policy is more a partisan issue than a gender issue in the contemporary policymaking environment. As women have increased their ranks in the last twenty-five years, their diversity has increased as well. Implications for future research highlighting heterogeneity among women as well as intersectionality are briefly discussed.
- Political Science Dissertations and Theses 
- Theses 
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.