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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Gender Gap in Political Recruitment Highlighted

John Sides of The Monkey Cage flags a recent study, “If Only They’d Ask: Gender, Recruitment and Political Ambition” by Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox. Sides quotes from the study:

Highly qualified and politically well-connected women from both major political parties are less likely than similarly situated men to be recruited to run for public office by all types of political actors. They are less likely than men to be recruited intensely. And they are less likely than men to be recruited by multiple sources. Although we paint a picture of a political recruitment process that seems to suppress women’s inclusion, we also offer the first evidence of the significant headway women’s organizations are making in their efforts to mitigate the recruitment gap, especially among Democrats. These findings are critically important because women’s recruitment disadvantage depresses their political ambition and ultimately hinders their emergence as candidates.

Sides adds that the discrimination in recruitment is “not because men are more likely to win: there is little evidence that women candidates suffer at the ballot box.” While the study gives an edge to Democrats in recruiting women, there is plenty of room for improvement, with nothing to lose and much to gain by making a more energetic commitment to recruiting women candidates.

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