a1 University of Pittsburgh
As predicted by resource-based models of political participation, women's increasing education and labor-force involvement have led to rates of political activity equal to or exceeding rates for men. But NES election study data reveal a sizable gender gap persisting from 1972 to 1994 in efforts to influence others' votes. An alternative contextual model is postulated to account for increased levels of political proselytizing by women when female candidates are on the ballot for major elective office. Logistic regression is used to predict whether a respondent will attempt to influence others' votes, and whether the presence of female candidates in the respondent's state or congressional district (1990–1994) improves the prediction. In 1992, the presence of women candidates was associated with higher levels of political involvement, internal political efficacy, and media use by both sexes, but the effects of candidate gender were stronger for women. In the congressional elections of 1990 and 1994, however, candidate gender had no such impact.
Who is she, what does she want, and what sort of action shall she undertake? Is she a human being who can give a spoken account of herself? If so, what language does she speak?
—Jean Bethke Elshtain (1982, 614), on feminist discourse
(Accepted December 15 1995)
(Received May 31 1996)
Susan B. Hansen is associate professor of political science, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260.