Women's authority in political decision-making groups

Tali Mendelberg, Christopher F. Karpowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Formal decision-making groups are ubiquitous, and they make decisions that govern every aspect of life, yet women are vastly underrepresented in them. How effective are women in these groups, where their numbers still lag far behind men's? We address this longstanding question, focusing on detailed measures of women's influence in natural and controlled settings. The answers shed light on related questions as well: How high do the numbers have to rise before women exercise equal influence? Do women need a different critical mass in different types of settings? We also address a newer question: how do other features of the group help or hinder women's equal leadership? Can they ameliorate the negative impact of low numbers? Women's relative number matters to women's ability to exercise leadership in small groups, but the procedures that groups use also matter, and condition the effects of numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-503
Number of pages17
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Critical mass group
  • Dynamics
  • Gender differences
  • Official decision-making groups
  • Women's influence
  • Women's representation


Dive into the research topics of 'Women's authority in political decision-making groups'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this