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Gendered Vulnerability: How Women Work Harder to Stay in Office, Jeffrey Lazarus and Amy Steigerwalt

Reviewed by Kelly Dittmar

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In this book Jeffrey Lazarus and Amy Steigerwalt leverage an impressive data collection to make the case that women legislators are more active and more responsive to their constituents than men. Moreover, they offer a theoretical argument to explain why women appear to work harder to meet constituent needs and demands, suggesting that women legislators’ perceptions of their electoral vulnerability—even as incumbents—motivate them to focus their legislative efforts on proving to their constituents that they are worthy of re-election.

The bulk of the text is dedicated to analyzing more than 12 measures of legislative activity and responsiveness—from the number and types of bills sponsored to the amount of mail sent to districts and staff allocated to district offices—in the 103rd to 110th Congresses (1993–2005). The analyses focus on between-gender differences in each chamber. Lazarus and Steigerwalt find the strongest evidence that women outwork and out-represent their male counterparts in the U.S. House of Representatives. Findings of gender differences are more limited in the U.S. Senate but still affirm the previous studies showing that women members are more likely to “bring home the bacon” in the form of earmarks (see Anzia and Berry 2011) and to sponsor and co-sponsor more bills and resolutions. The authors

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In It to Win: Electing Madam President, Lori Cox Han Reviewed by KELLY DITTMAR

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