National and cross-national studies demonstrate that the probability of women candidates' emergence and success is lower in more religious areas. One recent study of the U.S. House of Representatives even suggests that the effect of religiosity may be so powerful as to render insignificant other contextual factors, including a district's baseline women-friendliness. We argue that this finding is an institutional artifact; in less competitive contests with more internally similar constituencies, both religion and other contextual factors should affect women candidates' emergence and victory. We test this proposition using state legislative data and find that while women are less likely to run and win in more religious areas, district women-friendliness has an independent, positive effect on women's candidacies. These effects are particularly noteworthy in districts with large evangelical Protestant populations and affect Republican and Democratic women similarly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Religious studies
- Sociology and Political Science