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Do Rural Women Run? Factors Determining Where Women Represent


Sommers-Flanagan, Rylee Kate (2011)
Honors Thesis (92 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Reingold, Beth
Committee Members: Scott, Tracy L ; Walker, Thomas G
Research Fields: Political Science, General
Keywords: female representation; rural; state legislatures
Program: College Honors Program, International Studies
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/92rqm

Abstract

Abstract
Do Rural Women Run? Factors Determining Where Women Represent
By Rylee K. Sommers-Flanagan
Although current political science literature finds that women in the United States are more
likely to run and attain political office in state legislatures - and other political offices - when
they run in areas with particular demographic characteristics, most of that literature has
maintained a research focus in primarily urban areas. Most researchers have simply concluded
that rural areas have lower levels of these demographic features, such as high levels of diversity
and high proportions of college graduates, and therefore elect fewer women to varying levels of
office. However, this inquiry demonstrates that a focus on rural areas themselves is actually
merited and necessary because not all of the important demographic features at play in urban
areas are equally important to proportions of female representation in rural areas. By including
all 49 bicameral state legislature's districts in this analysis, we are able to isolate differences
between urban and rural settings, as well as differences that arise regionally, to support the
notion that the conclusions of the existing literature are not generalizeable to all areas of the
United States. Although interpretation is sometimes difficult due to a lack of cultural and
political ideology data at the district level, there is substantial evidence to suggest that
differences arise in relation to population density and region, and that these differences have
been too long overlooked.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents
SIGNIFICANCE OF WOMEN IN OFFICE………………………………………………….. 1
QUESTIONS………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE; WHERE WOMEN RUN……………………………….. 5
DEMOGRAPHICS………………………………………………………………………… 5
GENDER AS A ROLE ……………………………………………………………………. 11
RECRUITMENT, ELIGIBILITY AND THE WORKFORCE……………………………. 14
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS………………………………………………………... 17
HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH DESIGN………………………………………………… 21
HYPOTHESES……………………………………………………………………………... 21
RESEARCH DESIGN…………………………………………………………………........ 26
DATA………………………………………………………………………………….... 26
URBANIZATION………………………………………………………………………. 28
ANALYSIS……………………………………………………………………………... 30
RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION………………………………………………………... 33
CONCLUSIONS AND REFLECTIONS……………………………………………………… 67
WORKS CITED……………………………………………………………………………….. 71
APPENDIX A…………………………………………………………………………………. 75
APPENDIX B…………………………………………………………………………………. 77
APPENDIX C…………………………………………………………………………………. 79
APPENDIX D…………………………………………………………………………………. 80

TABLES AND GRAPHS
1. GRAPH 1 (FEMALE BY PERCENT URBAN)…………………………………………….. 33
2. TABLE 1, BIVARIATE LOGISTIC REGRESSION WITH VARIABLES EXPECTED TO
INFLUENCE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT A WOMAN WILL HOLD A SEAT
REPRESENTING A GIVEN DISTRICT……………………………………………………… 34
3. GRAPH 2 (FEMALE BY PERCENT FARM)……………………………………………… 36
4. GRAPH 3 (FEMALE BY PERCENT MINING)…………………………………………… 37
5. GRAPH 4 (FEMALE BY PERCENT FEMALE EMPLOYMENT)……………………….. 38
6. GRAPH 5 (FEMALE BY PERCENT FEMALE PROFESSIONALS)…………………….. 38
7. GRAPH 6 (FEMALE BY INCOME)……………………………………………………….. 39
8. GRAPH 7 (FEMALE BY PERCENT COLLEGE-EDUCATED)………………………….. 40
9. GRAPH 8 (FEMALE BY IDEOLOGY)……………………………………………………. 40
10. TABLE 2A, BIVARIATE ANALYSIS BY CROSSTAB WITH VARIABLES EXPECTED
TO INCLUENCE THE LIKELIHOOD THAT A WOMAN WILL HOLD A SEAT
REPRESENTING A GIVEN DISTRICT……………………………………………………… 42
11. TABLE 2B, (TABLE 2A CONTINUED)…………………………………………………. 43

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