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 study compares men and women lobbyists who work in the American states in 1995 and 2005, arguing in contrast to previous research that there is a consistent pattern of sex differences that cannot be explained by differential patterns of experience. Men and women are contrasted across three dimensions using original survey data from lobbyists in all 50 states. First, we examine lobbyists' background and experience, such as having previously held political office and years of experience lobbying. Second, differences between tactics employed by men and women are investigated. Third, the article draws a distinction between the attitudes of male and female lobbyists toward their profession. Differences between men and women within the three dimensions are found in both sets of data, with changes generally smaller in 2005. Unlike previous studies, we find differences among male and female lobbyists in their background, strategies, and attitudes, but the gap between them is moderate and in some cases has decreased.
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