In nearly all countries, women are underrepresented and men are overrepresented in national legislatures. This distortion in representation might occur for several reasons. One set of explanations suggests that parties, voters, or both, might discriminate against women. In this analysis we examine potential discrimination by parties and ask if elected officials discriminate against women who are thinking about a career in politics. Evaluating whether discrimination occurs is notoriously difficult with observational studies, so we conduct a field experiment to examine whether elected officials in New Zealand respond differently to potential political aspirants based on their perceived gender. Our results show that elected officials are equally willing to respond to both male and female political aspirants. These findings support the results from recent work conducted in other developed democracies and suggest that parties do not discriminate against female political aspirants at this stage of the recruitment process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science