Fellowship at the Wilson Center
There, I will be conducting a research project titled “Establishing Women in the Anti-Establishment Era”—a contemporary and salient study with relevance to US, European, and Latin American politics, and that is aligned with the Wilson Center’s research priority on women’s leadership.
Employing archival research, as well as survey and field experiments in the United States and Brazil, the research I will be conducting seeks to provide the first study of the potentially changing dynamics of the relationship between elite network membership and women’s political representation.
Previous scholarship shows that the dominance of “de facto nobilities” in the politics of democratic systems is a consequence of access to networks and contacts; insider know-how; accumulation of material resources; and, reputation/notoriety. The underrepresentation of politically marginalized groups is often associated with the lack of access to one or more of these same resources. The interaction between elite network membership and representation might thus not have clear-cut results: on the one hand, being associated with elite networks may give women the access to the political capital they on average lack; while, the prevalence of dominant groups with disproportional resources may put women without such links at a greater competitive disadvantage. Yet, at a time in which traditional elites (especially established career politicians) are distrusted, women who belong to traditional networks may be reprimanded for their network memberships, while women without elite ties may gain the motivation and space to run for office.
More updates on this project in the near future.