Women Lobbyists: The Gender Gap and Interest Representation

Politics &amp Policy 11/2008; 33(1):136 - 152. DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.2005.tb00212.x


Though women lobbyists have traditionally been underrepresented in Washington politics, a number of recent studies suggest their numbers are on the rise. Has the entry of women into the lobbying profession changed the profession in any way? Are there differences between the behavior of female and male lobbyists? In this study, we address these questions by exploring gender differences in lobbying. We do so using data from a survey of over 200 Washington lobbyists. Our findings indicate that women lobbyists use the same techniques as their male counterparts. Moreover, they exhibit similar levels of access to policymakers Mmen, and once they have this access, they appear to be taken seriously by policymakers. However, despite these gains on the part of female lobbyists, our data suggest that a substantial lobbying “gendergap” persists.

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    ABSTRACT: This paper compares men and women lobbyists who work in the American states. Both in 1995 and 2005, systematic random samples were selected from official lists of lobbyists in each of the fifty states. Two USPS mailings each year produced sample sizes of 1,559 in 1995 (return rate of 51.4%) and 1,545 (return rate of 49.6%). In 1995, the breakdown of men versus women state lobbyists was 73.2% male and 26.8% female; in 2005, 71.3% and 28.7%. Using appropriate data analysis techniques (regression, crosstabs, analysis of variance) men and women are contrasted across three dimensions. First, the tracks to lobbying are examined, such as prior political office and years of experience lobbying. Second, differences between tactics employed (grassroots, campaign contributions, etc.) by men and women are investigated. Finally, the paper draws a distinction between the attitudes of men and women lobbyists toward lobbying, as well as one social psychological variable, Machiavellianism. Differences between men and women within the three dimensions are found in both sets of data, with changes over time in some instances.
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