Are We Progressing Toward Equal Representation for Women in the Minnesota Legislature? New Evidence Offers Mixed Results.
Women continue to be underrepresented in elected office at the national, state, and local levels, whether one compares their numbers with the population as a whole or to the qualified labor pool. Voter discrimination against women no longer explains women's underrepresentation in elected office; extensive research across multiple elections demonstrates that when women are candidates in congressional primaries, and run in general elections as challengers, incumbents, and open-seat contestants, they win at the same rate as men, when accounting for incumbency. No systematic analysis has determined whether these gender-neutral results hold in Minnesota's state legislative races. In this article, the authors report on a study that analyzed an original, comprehensive set of candidate-level data for Minnesota legislative campaigns since 1997 to determine whether gender affects electoral success in the state of Minnesota.