Preparedness Meets Opportunity: Women's Increased Representation in the New Jersey Legislature
Several studies on the descriptive representation of women in office have examined questions related to candidate emergence, often trying to explain why so few women run for office (e.g., Bledsoe and Herring 1990; Fox and Lawless 2004; Fulton et al. 2006; Lawless and Fox 2010; Sanbonmatsu, Carroll, and Walsh 2009). Another body of research has focused largely on how the political opportunities available to women affect their descriptive representation among elected officials, analyzing, for example, the effects of electoral arrangements, term limits, and quota systems (e.g., Carroll and Jenkins 2001; Dahlerup 2006; Darcy, Welch, and Clark 1994; Krook 2009; Rule and Zimmerman 1994). Far less often have the "supply" side and the "demand" side of women's political representation been investigated together in the same study in order to understand how they interact. Through a case study of women's representation in the legislature of one US state, New Jersey, we show not only that supply-side and demand-side factors are both important, but also that they can work together to produce a significant increase in the numbers of women serving in office.