Ep. 9: A century of women’s enfranchisement

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This week marks the centennial of women’s enfranchisement in the United States and women have never been so politically powerful—or politically divided with men.

The “sex gap” in partisanship and voter turnout continues to widen. Once willing to defer the work of politics to men, women now have a 4 percentage point advantage in voter turnout. The partisanship gap has also grown. Women are 12 percentage points more likely to identify with the Democratic Party.

Dartmouth professor Elizabeth Cascio says the shifts in turnout reflect generational change. The gains have come from younger, higher-participation cohorts replacing older women who were less likely to vote. On the other hand, women of all ages have contributed to the changes in partisanship. The increasing Democratic identification of women is less about women becoming more liberal and more about how Democrats and Republicans have come to differentiate themselves.

Her paper with co-author Na’ama Shenhav looking back on a century of the American woman voter appears in the Spring issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Cascio recently spoke with the AEA’s Chris Fleisher about how women’s political influence has evolved differently from men’s and the factors driving that change.

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