Change in Women's Descriptive Representation and the Belief in Women's Ability to Govern: A Virtuous Cycle

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As a core principle of democratic theory, political scientists stress the importance of more inclusive and diverse elected bodies (Mansbridge 1999; Phillips 1995; Pitkin 1967; Williams 1998; Young 2000). A large portion of that literature discusses the positive symbolic effects of elected bodies when they come closer to mirroring the population from which they are drawn. For underrepresented groups, increases in their descriptive representation symbolize a more open political arena. This improves the group's political participation as well as beliefs about the group's role in politics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitics & Gender
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)437-464
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 12.2012