The Latino Gender Gap in US Politics

The Latino Gender Gap in US Politics

Christina Bejarano

1.31.2014

Christina Bejarano

Ms. Bejarano is the Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director of Political Science at the University of Kansas. Bejarano's research goal is to incorporate the diverse viewpoints and life experiences of both racial/ethnic minorities and women into mainstream U.S. politics research. She is particularly interested in examining questions of intersectionality of multiple identities, especially the intersection of race/ethnicity and gender. In the last ten years, racial/ethnic minority women in politics have made significant strides. During the late 1990s, minority women made up significant proportions of their respective minority delegations in both the U.S. national and state legislatures. The political participation rates for minority females have dramatically increased in the last ten years, even exceeding the rates for white women compared to their white male counterparts. Further, minority females participate in politics at higher rates than their male counterparts. In her research, she brings forth the important dynamics of intersectionality of gender and race/ethnicity to outline the conditions under which minorities and women successfully compete for electoral office and how they shape or influence electoral politics. The center of her research explores the dynamics of intersectionality of race/ethnicity and gender, for both minority female political candidates and voters.

Latino political participation in the United States is generally lower than the rest of the population, mainly due to their high proportion of youth and foreign born populations that are ineligible to vote. This dynamic is slowly changing, partly as a result of the rapidly growing Latino population in the United States.  Bejarano delves deeper into the complex gender differences for Latino political behavior. More specifically, she explores the political analysis of the diverse U.S. Latino population and the interacting factors that can influence male and female differences in voting and policy attitudes. As the Latino population highlights their growing political sway, the major political parties have and will strategically mobilize and court the Latino electorate, Latinas in particular.