The purpose of this work is to examine whether the socialization of gender affects congressional voting, focusing on the U.S House of Representatives and their voting behavior on legislation that is perceived as gendered. Concentrating on legislative women’s voting record, specifically for proposals which stand to either undermine or protect women’s rights, shows if women follow gender or party group interest. Therefore I ask, does gender affect congressional behavior? Past scholars have looked at the effects of gender in congress but often lacked a significant representation of women in the house. To fill this gap, I have conducted an observational study of over 15 years of legislative sessions with the highest representation of women available. Focusing on legislation on both Abortion and Domestic Violence topics, as both of these topics reflect women's social role and attitude, and pushing forward women's gender group interest. The data was collected through congressional roll call votes, where each member's votes were tracked with their correlating votes and gender. While the data did not provide that there is a relationship between gender and congressional voting, the data did show the importance of gender in each party. For the Republican party, more important are motherhood traits. In contrast, Democratic party voters follow their gendered political traits rather than gender roles. Further research provides more of an understanding of descriptive representation, as it shows that just because there are women in an office doesn't mean they will vote for policies that further the group's interests.


Wrobel, Megan


Political Science


American Politics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis


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