The Journal of Politics

Original Articles

Political Parties and the Recruitment of Women to State Legislatures

Kira Sanbonmatsua1

a1 The Ohio State University


This article analyzes the role of political parties in shaping women's representation across the U.S. states. Using data from 1971 to 1999, I analyze several hypotheses about how party affects women's recruitment to the lower houses of state legislatures. I argue that the incentive structure facing potential women candidates is somewhat different for Democratic and Republican women. The social eligibility pool, legislative professionalism, and partisan composition of the legislature affect women's representation differently by party. Rather than assuming a single path for women to elective office, this research implies that it is necessary to disaggregate women by party in order to understand the pattern of where women run for and hold state legislative office.

(Online publication January 30 2001)

(Received September 17 2001)