The Effects of Women Officeholders on Environmental Policy

Amy L. Atchison, Valparaiso University
Ian Down, University of Tennessee


Studies show that women and girls consistently demonstrate higher levels of concern for the environment than men and boys. Separately, research also indicates that women officeholders pay particular attention to the issues prioritized by their female constituents. Interestingly, despite the consistency of the gender gap in attitudes to environmental issues the literature has paid scant attention to the role of women officeholders in the adoption of environmental policy. The goal of this paper was to start to address that lacuna. Using pooled cross‐sectional time series analyses of environmental standards in 18 Western parliamentary democracies (1990–2012), our initial findings indicate women officeholders are associated with the adoption of higher environmental standards.