A Woman’s Voice in the House: Gender Composition and its Consequences in Committee Hearings
Do increasing numbers of women in Congress lead to more representation of women’s voices during the legislative process? Using committee hearing transcripts from 1995-2017, Pamela analyzes how increasing the proportions of women interacts with measures of perceived power to affect a member’s participation in their committee by gender.
In line with extant findings emphasizing the moderating effects of institutions, she finds that increasing the proportions of women positively affects participation among majority-party and senior-ranking women. She then investigates the effect on measures of influence.
Both women and men are less likely to interrupt others when women’s proportion on a committee increases. Further, women are more likely to stay on the same topic as other women, while men are likely to change topics introduced by women. The results show that increasing proportions of women work together with individuals’ power status to increase women’s voice and shift power dynamics within Congress.
Pamela Ban is assistant professor of political science at University of California San Diego. She focuses on electoral politics, legislatures, political parties, and how these institutions influence the behavior of political actors. She received a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in 2018 and a BA in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 2012.
*Political Institutions & Political Economy