Study: Parties With More Female Candidates Reap Election Day Rewards

For a party chairperson looking for more success at the ballot box, the solution may be as simple as fielding more female candidates.MIT economist Albert Saiz and Arizona State University professor Pablo Casas-Arce have published research on Spain’s 2007 elections—that was the year Spain implemented a law requiring at least 40 percent of a political party’s candidates to be women. The law only applied to municipalities with 5,000 people or more, making Spain an ideal place to study whether having more women run for office makes a difference for voters.The researchers found that “parties that increased their share of female candidates by 10 percentage points more than their opponents enjoyed a 4.2 percentage-point gain at the ballot box.” Forget the theories that people feel more secure voting for men—at least in Spain, when more women ran, their parties won more, period. And while the results were specific to Spain, a parallel trend is taking place on this side of the Atlantic: two in three Americans think we’re ready to elect a female president, up from about 50 percent eight years ago.