The missing majority : the recruitment of women as state legislative candidates /
David Niven.
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, c1998.
190 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
0275960730 (alk. paper)
More Details
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, c1998.
0275960730 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [171]-185) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
David Niven is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-12:
As both a political scientist and minority leader of the Nevada State Senate, this reviewer found Niven's book an excellent analysis of why more women are not serving in state legislatures. Rather than focusing on the difficulties of the campaign, as has often been the case in previous research, Niven traces the problem to lack of recruitment of women to stand for election. Drawing from opinions of party leaders and potential candidates, instead of the more standard samples of female nominees and office holders, he concludes that significant elite bias against women candidates does exist--sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle, but always present--most notably in the form of the "outgroup effect." In other words, most party leaders are males who are more comfortable with male candidates because of their surface similarities and who therefore see male candidates as more capable. Consequently, relatively few women are recruited, and those who are tapped are often in districts where they have little or no chance of success. Niven can be criticized for his limited samples: county party chairs are not the only candidate recruiters, especially in weak party states; nor do women local officials comprise the total pool of potential candidates for the state legislature. Nonetheless, he does a fine job of pulling together previous findings and explaining, with sound theoretical underpinnings, how elite bias is a serious barrier that keeps women from legislative office. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. C. Titus; University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Review Quotes
'œHe does a fine job of pulling together previous findings and explaining, with sound theoretical underpinnings, how elite bias is a serious barrier that keeps women from legislative office.'' Choice
'œPolitical elites do indeed demonstrate bias against women in the recruitment of candidates. this primary finding directly counters most accepted research on women as candidates and makes this book required reading for scholars of the field.'' Women & Politics
'œReaders will find the contents worthwhile.'' American Political Science Review
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Unpaid Annotation
In America, women are the clear majority of the electorate and the clear minority of elected officials overall. Niven finds that one important reason women hold a minority of state legislative seats is that party leaders are biased against women. This bias, rooted in the outgroup effect, encourages the predominantly male party leadership to prefer candidates in their own image while they discount the merits of potential women candidates. This book addresses this issue and offers suggestions for change.
Long Description
In America, women are the clear majority of the electorate and the clear minority of elected officials overall. In 1997, women held only 21% of the seats at the state legislative level. This study finds that a significant and overlooked culprit acting to limit women's state legislative candidacies is the political party elite. Surveys of county party chairs and potential women legislative candidates were used to investigate the interaction between party leaders and women candidates and to assess its importance in the women's candidacy equation. The vast majority of potential women candidates did, in fact, respond that their parties discriminated against women candidates. Why would party leaders harbor bias against women? Party leader survey responses are consistent with the notion that most leaders are subject to the outgroup effect, which in essence means they prefer candidates in their own image. Since most party leaders are men, this encourages them to value male candidates and doubt the merits of female candidates. The findings suggest that this bias against women is most likely to occur where chairs have greater decision-making power and where chairs are leading the parties in less competititve districts. The existence of outgroup-motivated bias from party chairs is estimated to reduce the number of women state legislative nominees by one-third. Scholars interested in women in politics, political parties and recruitment, legislative elections, social psychology, and political psychology will find this book useful.
Table of Contents
Tables and Figuresp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Why Study the Lack of Women Legislators?p. 2
Barriers Keeping Women from Legislative Officep. 6
Whither Studies of Elites?p. 9
A Study of the Party Elite/Candidate Interactionp. 10
Presentation of Resultsp. 13
Research on Women's Candidacy Rate: The Promise of Studying Elitesp. 15
Supply of Candidatesp. 16
Demand for Candidatesp. 20
The Candidacy Decisionp. 23
Unbiased Elites?p. 25
The Argument for Elite Biasp. 28
Electoral Structure and Biasp. 31
Summaryp. 32
An Exploration of Elite Biasp. 34
The Outgroup Effectp. 35
The Distribution Effectp. 37
Research Designp. 40
The Samplep. 42
Survey Design and Mailingp. 46
Summaryp. 47
The Shape of Biasp. 49
Bias Against Womenp. 49
Outgroup Versus Distribution Effectp. 52
Limitations of the Datap. 64
Summary and Conclusionsp. 69
The Determinants of Biasp. 72
Individual-Level Measuresp. 72
Outgroup Scoresp. 80
Distribution Scoresp. 91
Summary and Conclusionsp. 98
The Effects of Biasp. 101
Determinants of Women's Candidaciesp. 101
Bias and the Number of Women Candidatesp. 113
The Women Who Emergep. 115
Summary and Conclusionsp. 119
Conclusionp. 121
Summary of Findingsp. 123
Scholarly Implicationsp. 127
Implications for Women's Candidaciesp. 130
The Party Solution?p. 132
Final Thoughtsp. 140
Cover Letter and Survey of County Party Chairsp. 143
Cover Letter and Survey of Potential Women Candidatesp. 153
Correlations of Independent Variables in Determinants of Bias Modelsp. 165
Correlations of Independent Variables in Determinants of Women's Candidacy Rate Modelsp. 169
Bibliographyp. 171
Indexp. 187
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