Strength in Numbers: How Women's Groups Close India's Political Gender Gap



Soledad Prillaman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University

Date and Time

March 18, 2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM




Online, via Zoom: REGISTER

About this Event: In India there persists a striking gender gap in political participation. Women's political participation is important both on normative grounds of inclusion and because when women do participate, politics changes. I develop a theoretical model of political behavior arguing that women's lack of political participation is the result of the structure of women's political networks in patriarchal societies. I then evaluate the effect of expanding women's networks by leveraging a natural experiment that created as-if random variation in access to women-only credit groups. Participation in these groups had a significant and substantial impact on women's political participation - women's attendance at public meetings doubled. I provide suggestive evidence of three mechanisms underlying this effect: (1) larger networks, (2) increased capacity for collective action within networks, and (3) development of civic skills. These findings contribute to our understanding of how networks affect political behavior and underlie gendered inequalities in political participation.


Soledad PrillamanAbout the Speaker: Soledad Artiz Prillaman is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. Her research lies at the intersections of comparative political economy, development, and gender, with a focus in South Asia. Specifically, her research addresses questions such as: What are the political consequences of development and development policies, particularly for women’s political behavior? How are minorities, specifically women, democratically represented and where do inequalities in political engagement persist and how are voter demands translated into policy and governance? In answering these questions, she utilizes mixed methods, including field experiments, surveys, and in-depth qualitative fieldwork. She received her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2017 and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Texas A&M University in 2011.