Skip to main content

From Suffrage to Representation: Women, Suffragists and Politicians upon Enfranchisement in the U.S., U.K, Norway and Chile

PI: Dr. Mona Morgan-Collins

How do women achieve representation of shared interests? Scholars often emphasize the importance of voting rights for representation, while practitioners call for the removal of voting barriers as a means to group empowerment. Yet politicians often fail to represent women's interests despite women's equal access to the polls.

This project will challenge conventional narratives, shared by scholars and practitioners alike, wherein the acquisition of voting rights 'automatically' improves the representation of women's interests. While de jure electoral inclusion of women is clearly a necessary condition for de facto representation of women's interests, the gender deficit in most legislatures today demonstrates that it is hardly sufficient. Through an analysis of the electoral processes that materialised in the aftermath of women's suffrage in four distinct countries (U.K, U.S., Norway and Chile), this project will develop a new understanding of how and when access to the polling booth improves the representation of women's interests.

This project seeks to map the electoral conditions under which the acquisition of the vote improves the representation of women's interests and therefore provide direct recommendations to practitioners who seek to address the gender deficit in legislatures.