Tuesday, 11th June 2019
13:30 - 14:30
CESS Seminar Rooms - 3 George Street Mews
Women Behind Women: How Female Politicians Reduce the Political Gender Gap in Urban India
Examining the natural experiment of quota assignment in Delhi complemented with qualitative data and original survey of 1664 citizens, this paper provides evidence that women’s political entry substantively improves political involvement for women. In addition to exposure effects, this paper argues that women’s entry into politics changes the way citizens are mobilised and in ways that improve women’s political involvement. I motivate this argument with qualitative accounts of how women politicians hire effective women party workers, seek out women constituents, tap into new spaces to mobilise women, and conduct political events in women-friendly ways. I then present experimental evidence that areas ever exposed to women politician report substantively higher door-to-door contact by women and mixed gender group of party workers, and that women are significantly more likely than men to be contacted by party workers in ever-reserved wards. Although suggestive, party contact in general, and female party contact in particular is a key mechanism through which citizen show higher political involvement in ever-reserved wards. The paper contributes by suggesting a new mechanism through which women leaders affect citizens’ political involvement, and points to important new avenues of research.