For decades, scholars have uncovered evidence that male and female legislators' priorities and preferences differ and that women's inclusion brings to elite-level politics a more cooperative leadership style. They also point to the symbolic benefits associated with more diversity among candidates and office holders. Although these effects are not uniform, there is no question among political scientists that women's presence in US political institutions bears directly on issues of substantive and symbolic representation. Accordingly, it is important to understand why we have so few women in politics, whether they are willing to run for office, what happens when they do, and the extent to which their presence systematically affects the legislative process. I cover each of these topics in this review, emphasizing the latest and most interesting research that speaks to these questions.


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