Women and the Parties: An Analysis of Republican and Democratic Strategies for Recruiting Women Candidates
33 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
Heading into the 2014 midterm elections, women form less than one-fifth of those representing the nation in Congress (CAWP 2014a). Women remain underrepresented among elected officials in both parties, but the problem is particularly pronounced within the Republican caucus in Congress, which is even more male dominated today than a decade ago. This study draws on qualitative data, including in depth interviews with officeholders and candidates as well as organizational and party elites, to explore the approaches of the national Democratic and Republican parties towards the recruitment and support of women candidates. This study seeks to answer the following questions: How committed are the parties to the goal of recruiting more women? What strategies are the two parties employing to recruit women, and how effective are these strategies? In the end, do the parties’ distinctive approaches to recruiting and supporting women candidates help explain the partisan gap among women members of Congress? Party organizations are better funded and more active in recruiting and supporting candidates than they were decades ago. This study explores whether and how the parties utilize their increased power to address women’s underrepresentation among their elected officials.
Keywords: women candidates; political parties
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