From our March 2015 issue: Reassessing Descriptive Representation by Women and Men of Color: New Evidence at the Subnational Level

  1. Pei-te Lien1

  1. 1University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
  1. Pei-te Lien, Department of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, MC9420, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9420, USA. Email:


This research uses the concept of intersectionality to help improve understanding of the relationship between race and gender as it pertains to the jurisdictional context of elective offices held by Blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and American-Indians at the subnational level. Utilizing an enhanced version of a comprehensive data set associated with the Gender and Multicultural Leadership Project, we document more substantial evidence of ethnoracial descriptive representation in state and local offices than previously known as well as important variations by race, gender, level/type of office, and their intersections. To help disentangle the paradoxical position of political women of color, we discuss with three scenarios implications of jurisdictional context on building electoral coalitions across race or gender by women of color.

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