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The challenges of political representation: gender in a US State legislature

Mary Eve Spirou (Department of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 13 February 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of women in the Georgia General Assembly and determines the impact of gender on the activities of state legislators, specifically in the areas of committee assignments and sponsored legislation from 2003 to 2014.


The approach set forth in this analysis seeks to answer four research questions employing quantitative data regarding female legislator involvement in activities of the state legislature and compare these findings with their male colleagues over a ten-year period.


Some of the key findings include that female representative sponsor fewer bills and participate in fewer committees than their male counterparts. The only legislative area female representatives exercise greater involvement is in government committees. The paper concludes with policy recommendations on how to address the current standing of women in the Georgia General Assembly.


A value of this analysis is that its content can support comparative work that can prove helpful to future research goals. As the most comprehensive analysis of its kind in Georgia, this paper contributes to a better understanding of the state legislature.



Spirou, M.E. (2017), "The challenges of political representation: gender in a US State legislature", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 13-25.



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