What's happened to the gender gap in political participation? How might we explain it?

Nancy Burns, Kay Lehman Schlozman, Ashley Jardina, Shauna Shames, Sidney Verba

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


At some point in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century, a stubbornly persistent gender gap in US political activity more or less vanished, fulfilling one part of the aspiration of women's suffrage. This chapter asks why, seeking answers both in changes that have nothing to do with politics and in politics itself. As is typical when considering political participation, our account involves the interaction of several processes rather than a single cause. The most important transformation has been the increase in women's education: women are now more likely than men to earn college and graduate degrees. In addition, a striking increase has taken place in the presence of women as high-profile and successful office seekers, especially since 1992. During a critical period in the 1990s, an influx of female candidates and elected officials appears to have kept the gender gap in participation from being even wider.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment
Subtitle of host publicationAn Appraisal of Women's Political Activism
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)9780190265144
StatePublished - Feb 15 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Descriptive representation
  • Education
  • Elected officials
  • Electoral interest
  • Gender gap
  • Labor force participation
  • Political participation


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