Women in Congress consistently outperforming male counterparts on several measures
One of the most notable outcomes of the Nov. 6 election was the record number of women voted into Congress, including 20 women who will occupy seats in the U.S. Senate.
Christopher Berry, associate professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, recently discussed the effects of the increase in female U.S. senators.
Berry co-authored a 2011 study that found congresswomen consistently outperform their male counterparts on several measures of job performance.
What implications will the increase of female representation have for the U.S. Senate?
Potentially of great interest to the constituents of the new female senators is our finding that they consistently bring home more federal projects and federal aid than their male counterparts.
When you think about disasters like Hurricane Sandy, the ability to bring home federal aid for rebuilding efforts is really important.
It is going to be good for their constituents and the states they represent.
Another finding, which may have broader implications for the Senate and the country, is that not only do women sponsor more legislation, but also they collaborate more broadly with their colleagues.
We looked at all the bills introduced in the U.S House of Representatives since 1984 and who sponsored them, and we found that women work with a much broader range of co-sponsors than their male counterparts.
This ability to collaborate may be particularly important as we move into some of the really big challenges in the next term.
The fiscal cliff is the most obvious one. There are going to have to be a lot of deals done. And it is not impossible that we will revisit some aspects of healthcare reform and start long-term entitlement reform.
There are big issues for President Barack Obama's second term, during which women may play a really interesting role in helping to bridge some of the partisan gaps.
Why do women tend to better perform in public office than men?
There are two main reasons. First, women have to be more effective in order to win elections.
Secondly, women work closely with more of their colleagues then men do. The reasons for this are probably less tangible and harder to measure, but there is some research suggesting it is a matter of style.