Photo of the day

Love this Telegraph gallery of a frozen lighthouse in Michigan:

Ice engulfs a red lighthouse as a fierce winter storm grips South Haven, Michigan

After each coating the water quickly freezes to ice and the pier is transformed into a slippery, white wonderland

Picture: Mike Kline/Barcroft Media

Map of the day

Love this world map of countries resized according to their population via Vox (click here for the big version).  It’s actually kind of interesting how many countries don’t actually change size all that much.  Other than the obvious gigantism of India, the most eye-catching part to me is the amazing shrinking of Canada and Russia.


Why don’t women run

As mentioned before, the reason there’s not more women in political office is not that women lose elections when they run (they win and lose at the same rates as men) it’s just that women don’t run enough.  There’s all sorts of reasons, but in significant part, similarly-situated women lack the same ambition for higher office as men.  We also know that women are more likely to wait until their children are older to run, which puts them behind similarly-aged men, but some research suggests that’s not really an issue, as John Sides writes:

But studies of political ambition have often struggled to show that responsibilities at home affect women’s decisions about whether to run. For example, some research finds little correlation between household or child-care responsibilities and political ambition in their surveys of men and women in occupations, such as the law, that regularly feed into political careers.

But some new research finds some good evidence on how family responsibilities may very well matter:

Now, a forthcoming paper by Yale doctoral student Rachel Silbermann provides some interesting evidence of how women’s family responsibilities might matter. Silbermann uncovered a striking correlation: The farther away a state legislative district is from the state capital, the less likely it is that there will be at least one female candidate in that district or a woman serving as state legislator. Notably, these districts are no less likely to have women serving in local office, suggesting that these more remote districts aren’t simply lacking women who are interested in running for office, period.

It always seemed to me that here in NC, the women legislators were disproportionately from the Triangle– no accident!  Silberman also conducted an interesting survey experiment–the results would be a lot more compelling of based on professional adults rather than college students, but still telling:

Silbermann also conducted a simple experiment among a national sample as well as a sample of Yale undergraduates. The students were asked to choose between serving in Congress or the state legislature.  One group was told to imagine that the state capital was “five hours from home.”  Another was told that the state capital was only “15 minutes from home.”

Both men and women were more likely to choose the state legislature over Congress when the state capital was only 15 minutes away, compared to five hours away. But women were much more sensitive to location. Men were 14 points more likely to choose the state legislature when it was close by. Women were 28 points more likely.

Taken together, this evidence doesn’t definitely show that family responsibilities are causing women not to run for office.  But such responsibilities — or , in the case of college students, the anticipation of these responsibilities — could quite plausibly explain why women may forsake a long commute to the legislature. And, as Silberman notes, her finding may capture only some of the impact of family responsibilities, because travel is but “one component of what makes political careers incompatible with family responsibilities.”

Interesting!  I know for me one of the reasons I would never want to run for office is toll on family life and I often marvel at the fundamental unfairness of how much easier it is to represent Cary than Asheville.  Clearly, I’m not alone in this, and I guess, to quote my post popular karaoke performance ever, “Man, I feel like a woman.”

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