When do women represent women’s rights: exploring seniority and political security

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A longstanding assumption in the literature on women’s representation is that, once elected, descriptive representatives will legislate on behalf of women’s substantive interests. While the literature finds support for the notion that women representatives prioritize women’s substantive interests in their legislative behavior, considerable variation exists across women within countries. In this paper, I explore one factor that explains why some women focus more on women’s rights than others: sense of political security and establishment within the legislature. I argue that women legislators with more security within the legislature, measured as seniority, may be more likely to introduce women’s rights policies when compared with more junior women. Seniority provides legislators freedom to deviate from the party platform without fear of backlash from party leadership. I test this using data on bills initiated by legislators in Argentina (1983–2013). I find that more senior women introduce more women’s rights legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1097
Number of pages21
JournalPolitics, Groups, and Identities
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022

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