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NYT’s Article on Women Governing Cites Professor Wolfe’s Research

The New York Times cited research conducted by Colorado College Assistant Political Science Professor Dana Wittmer Wolfe in an article headlined "Women Actually Do Govern Differently."

The article, published Wednesday, Nov. 10, states that "Women's representation in government is stalled, and in some cases moving backward. Does that make a difference to the work of governing? Yes, according to decades of data from around the world."

Among the studies it cites is Wolfe's research, titled "Women's Issues and Their Fates in the U.S. Congress," in which she and her co-researchers contend that female legislators focus their attention on "women's issues" to a greater extent than do male lawmakers.

The Times notes, "In a new analysis of the 151,824 public bills introduced in the House between 1973 and 2014, to be published in print in Political Science Research and Methods, researchers found that women were significantly more likely than men to sponsor bills in areas like civil rights, health and education. Men were more likely to sponsor bills in agriculture, energy and macroeconomics."

Analysis by Wolfe and her co-researchers reveals that most of the traditionally considered women's issues are raised at a higher rate by congresswomen. When tracking the fate of those issues, they found that while 4 percent of all bills become law, the rate drops to 2 percent for women's issues and to only 1 percent for women's issue bills sponsored by women themselves. They note that the pattern persists over time, from the early 1970s through today, and link the bias against women's issues to the committee process.

Wolfe studies American politics, with specific interests in gender, public opinion, public policy, and Congress. Her work looks at how women perform once elected to political office, what types of bills they introduce, and how successful they are at getting those bills passed. She also is involved in research concerning gender and legislative effectiveness in Congress, and public opinion about Congress as a gendered institution. Wolfe's recent publications include an article in the American Journal of Political Science titled "When Are Women More Effective Lawmakers Than Men?" That same research recently was cited in an article in The Atlantic titled "Would Electing More Women Fix Congress?"

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