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

Morgan-Collins, Mona & Grace Natusch, Comparative Political Studies

How were the most underprivileged women mobilized after suffrage? Newly enfranchised women faced a multitude of barriers to voting and this was especially the case for working-class women. We theorize that working-class women were more likely to acquire civic attitudes and information through ties with neighbors of the same class than working-class men or privileged classes. Working-class women’s typical employment and domestic responsibilities provided the most opportunities, motivation and need for local networks, while limiting the opportunities to acquire political resources via outside employment or voluntary associations typically available to other social groups. 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 neighbors enhanced working-class women’s turnout, but not that of privileged classes and working-class men.

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

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