Women on the Sidelines: Women's Representation on Committees in Latin American Legislatures Academic Article uri icon


  • This article explores how new groups can be marginalized after they gain representation in the legislature. We use data from sixLatin American legislatures to examine the effect of institutional and political factors on how traditionally dominant male political leaders distribute scarce political resources - committee assignments - to female newcomers. In general, we find that women tend to be isolated on women's issues and social issues committees and kept off of power and economics/foreign affairs committees as the percentage of legislators who are women increases, when party leaders or chamber presidents control committee assignments, and when the structure of the committee system provides a specific committee to deal with women's issues. Thus, to achieve full incorporation into the legislative arena, newcomers must do more than just win seats. They must change the institutions that allow the traditionally dominant group to hoard scarce political resources. 2005 by the Midwest Political Science Association.

published proceedings

  • American Journal of Political Science

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Heath, R. M., SchwindtBayer, L. A., & TaylorRobinson, M. M.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Heath, Roseanna Michelle||Schwindt‐Bayer, Leslie A||Taylor‐Robinson, Michelle M

publication date

  • April 2005