Abstract Title

The Underrepresentation of Women in State Legislatures; A Case Study of the Northwest

Disciplines

American Politics

Abstract

The underrepresentation of women in state legislatures is a major concern in the United States. Based on data from The Center for American Women in Politics, the growth of female representation has stagnated since the mid 90’s. I will examine this trend, and attempt to answer two important questions: what factors have caused the stagnated growth, and why some states have grown in gender representation at faster rates. I will compile a comparative case study of the Northwest—Idaho, ICUR 2015 26 Montana, Oregon, and Washington—due to its high diversity of population, ideology, partisanship, and urbanization. Initial data suggests that the Democratic Party has a greater percentage of women representatives than does the Republican Party, which should prove to be a key factor in determining why some state legislatures are more or less gender representative. Anticipated results include that party dynamics and culture, as well as interest group participation, will also be critical. This study will help define what interest groups, parties, and other interested organizations can do to increase gender representation within their respective states.

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The Underrepresentation of Women in State Legislatures; A Case Study of the Northwest

The underrepresentation of women in state legislatures is a major concern in the United States. Based on data from The Center for American Women in Politics, the growth of female representation has stagnated since the mid 90’s. I will examine this trend, and attempt to answer two important questions: what factors have caused the stagnated growth, and why some states have grown in gender representation at faster rates. I will compile a comparative case study of the Northwest—Idaho, ICUR 2015 26 Montana, Oregon, and Washington—due to its high diversity of population, ideology, partisanship, and urbanization. Initial data suggests that the Democratic Party has a greater percentage of women representatives than does the Republican Party, which should prove to be a key factor in determining why some state legislatures are more or less gender representative. Anticipated results include that party dynamics and culture, as well as interest group participation, will also be critical. This study will help define what interest groups, parties, and other interested organizations can do to increase gender representation within their respective states.