Skip to main content
No Access

Representing Women: The Adoption of Family Leave in Comparative Perspective

A critical justification for heightening the number of women in elective office is that women will promote policies that improve women's equality and autonomy. When and how does women's descriptive representation matter for policy outcomes? The focus on policy outcomes offers an essential test of whether having more women in office makes a difference for citizens’ daily lives. Systematic analyses of 19 democracies from 1970 to 2000 reveals that women's parliamentary presence significantly influences the adoption and scope of maternity and childcare leave policies. Women's political presence trumps the ideology of the party in power.