A partisan gap in the supply of female potential candidates in the United States

Melody Crowder-Meyer, Benjamin E. Lauderdale


A partisan disparity in women representatives in the US House emerged in the 1980s and has continued to grow in magnitude. We show that this pattern closely mirrors the emergence of a partisan disparity in the proportion of women in the US public with the typical characteristics of high-level officeholders. Our analysis indicates that the proportion of women in the Democratic pool of potential candidates is now two to three times larger than in the Republican pool of potential candidates. Given the current association of party identification with gender and other characteristics, this gap is more likely to increase than decrease over the coming decade, with potential consequences for the descriptive and substantive representation of women in American politics.

  • Political parties
  • candidate emergence
  • legislative studies
  • quantitative methodology
  • women in politics
  • United States politics

Article Notes

  • Declaration of conflicting interest The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Supplementary material The online appendix is available at: http://rap.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data

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