Women Get More Politically Engaged When Their Senator Is Also Female

Women no longer lag far behind men in political savvy when they have a female leader to look toward

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis

It's a sorry statistical fact that fewer women than men are deeply engaged in politics. As new research reveals, however, there is one important exception to the statistical norm: when women have at least one female representative in the Senate, their political engagement and savvy nearly matches that of men, Pacific Standard reports

Researchers from Arizona State University arrived at this conclusion after analyzing data from more than 36,000 people who took part in a 2006 survey that questioned participants before and after the Congressional election that year. Fourteen women served in the Senate that year, the Pacific Standard writes. (That's six fewer than today.)

Women who participated in the study, it turned out, were more likely to know their Senate representatives' political affiliation and views on key issues such as the Iraq war, Pacific Standard continues, when at least one of their representatives was a woman. Women's political engagement—whether they donated to a campaign or engaged with others about politics, for example—likewise increased when they were representable by a female Senate member.