At the Intersection of Gender and Class: How Were Newly Enfranchised Women Voters Mobilized in Sweden?

Morgan-Collins, Mona & Grace Natusch

How were the most underprivileged women voters mobilized upon suffrage? Scholars document the importance of politicized networks for early women voters, but by doing so, overwhelmingly focus on privileged women. Taking an intersectional lens to the issue, we emphasize the role of politicized local networks through which working-class women acquired information and civic attitudes. We argue that the character of working-class women's employment and domestic responsibilities provided the most opportunities, motivation and need for local networks, while limiting opportunities to establish external social networks via outside employment or voluntary associations. Utilizing an original dataset of individual voting records in a mid-sized industrial city during interwar period in Sweden, we employ a difference-in-differences design that isolates neighbor effects from confounders at the individual level. Consistent with our argument, we find that class homogeneity of one's neighbors enhanced working-class women's decision to vote for at least a decade after suffrage.

This paper is the first of a series of papers that explore women's electoral participation in Sweden.

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