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Gender Pools and Puzzles: Charting a “Women's Path” to the Legislature

  • Kira Sanbonmatsu (a1)

The “social eligibility pool” stands as one of the most common, and most powerful, explanations for women's underrepresentation in elective office. By this view, women are underrepresented in elite politics because sex discrimination and socialization have produced a gender imbalance in the occupations that typically precede a political career (Darcy, Welch, and Clark 1994). The scarcity of women in law and business has implications for politics: “The absence of women from these stepping-stones to political office does explain a good portion of women's under-representation in public office. A decrease in this under-representation helps explain gains in women holding office” (1994, 179).

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Baker, Paula. 1984. “The Domestication of Politics: Women and American Political Society, 1780–1920.” American Historical Review89 (June): 62047.

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Maddox, H. W. Jerome. 2004. “Working Outside of the State House (and Senate): Outside Careers as an Indicator of Professionalism in American State Legislatures.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly4 (Summer): 21126.

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Sanbonmatsu, Kira. 2002. “Political Parties and the Recruitment of Women to State Legislatures.” Journal of Politics64 (August): 791809.

Schaffner, Brian. 2005. “Priming Gender: Campaigning on Women's Issues in U.S. Senate Elections.” American Journal of Political Science49 (October): 80317.

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
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