Women – Getting in Office and Getting Their Way

June 3, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

Andrew Gelman links to an article by John Lott to the effect that ever since women got the vote in the US, “the evidence indicates that women have long gotten their way.”

Lott has a fairly disreputable history as a scholar – making up data, using pseudonyms to post rave reviews of his own books at Amazon, etc. (for the full indictment go here). But he’s thoroughly conservative, so Fox and the American Enterprise Institute are glad to hire him.

Getting their way apparently doesn’t include guaranteed maternity leave and other family-friendly policies that Europeans take for granted. Nor does it mean ever having had a women as head of state – unlike the UK, France, Germany, India, Israel, Argentina, Ireland, Pakistan . . . .

When it comes to electing women legislators, the US ranks right up there, slightly ahead of Gabon but a bit behind feminist states like Uzbekistan and Sudan.

(For the complete list, go here.)

Within the US, state legislatures vary in the percentage of women legislators, and there are some surprises. Arizona (McCain-Goldwater country) and New Hampshire elect a higher percentage of women than do liberal Massachusetts and New York.

(Click on the map to see it in visible size.)


John Lott said...
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John Lott said...

The point of the piece was that possibly more important than the number of women elected is the results that they are getting in terms of policy. That is relatively easy to measure, and that is what this paper does (http://ssrn.com/abstract=160530). We have made the data available to many authors and as far as I know no one has taken issue with it.

As to the reference that you link to, you might want to be a little careful. For example, here are some pieces of information that a professor at the University of Maryland compiled on the person that you reference.