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Title: Strength in Numbers: How Women's Groups Close India's Political Gender Gap
Abstract

In India, there persists a striking gender gap in political participation. Women's political participation is important both on normative grounds of inclusion and because when women participate, politics changes. I develop a theoretical model of women's political behavior, arguing that women's lack of political participation is the result of the structure of women's political networks in patriarchal societies. I then evaluate the effect of expanding women's networks by leveraging a natural experiment that created as‐if random variation in access to women‐only credit groups. Participation in these groups had a significant and substantial impact on women's political participation—women's attendance at public meetings doubled. I provide suggestive evidence of three mechanisms underlying this effect: (1) larger networks, (2) increased capacity for collective action within networks, and (3) development of civic skills. These findings contribute to our understanding of how networks affect political behavior and underlie gendered inequalities in political participation.

 
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NSF-PAR ID:
10307969
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
American Journal of Political Science
Volume:
67
Issue:
2
ISSN:
0092-5853
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 390-410
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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