Title

Are Female House Members Still More Liberal in a Polarized Era? The Conditional Nature of the Relationship between Descriptive and Substantive Representation

Publication Date

2009

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Some past studies looking at the voting behavior of women in Congress have shown that they tend to be more liberal than their male colleagues and are more likely to support issues of importance to women. Yet many of these analyses were conducted prior to the entrance of a number of conservative women into the U.S. House over the past few election cycles. Focusing on roll-call voting data over 13 Congresses, this study demonstrates that women in the House are more divided along partisan and ideological lines than at any point over the past two decades, even more ideologically distant than their male colleagues. It presents evidence that over the entirety of this period after controlling for other relevant factors, the effect of gender on roll-call ideology was stronger for Republican women than for Democratic women. However, in the 108th and 109th Congresses they were virtually ideologically indistinguishable from their male Republican colleagues. A similar pattern has materialized when the analysis is strictly limited to votes on women’s issues.

Original Citation

Frederick, B. (2009). Are Female House Members Still More Liberal in a Polarized Era? The Conditional Nature of the Relationship between Descriptive and Substantive Representation. Congress and the Presidency, 36, 181-202. https://doi.org/10.1080/07343460902948097