Intersecting interests: Gender, race, and congressional attention to women's issues

Michael D. Minta, Nadia E. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Despite claims by normative theorists that gender diversity in Congress leads to better representation of women's interests, the results of empirical studies have been largely mixed. While some scholars have found positive effects of gender diversity, others have found very little impact. We argue that it is not the presence of White and minority women alone that makes political institutions more responsive to women's issues, but rather it is the organizational presence of minority men along with minority women who make similar claims for inclusion, power, and organizational formation to achieve those goals that matters. We examine to what extent gender and racial diversity have led to more attention to issues that directly and indirectly impact women. Using congressional hearings data from 1951-2004, we find that the increased presence of minority men and women legislators in the House, but less so in the Senate, is responsible for keeping women's interests on the congressional agenda. We demonstrate how an intersectional and additive approach can add both theoretical and empirical value to the study of political representation by demonstrating the impact of women and minorities in Congress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-272
Number of pages20
JournalDu Bois Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 31 2013


  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Intersectionality
  • Race
  • Representation

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