Suffrage, Turnout and the Community: How Social Context Mobilised Early Women Voters.
How were early women voters mobilized? Newly enfranchised women had restricted access to traditional resources, yet substantial proportion of women participated in the first elections upon enfranchisement. In contrast to conventional narratives that emphasize employment and education for women's political engagement, we theorize that the social and political embeddedness of women in the home and local communities became an indispensable resource for women at the turn of the twentieth century. The availability of community-based resources was shaped primarily by an industrial conflict, which increased women's responsiveness to social composition of their communities. Utilizing original dataset of individual voting records in a mid-sized industrial city during the interwar period in Sweden, we employ a difference-in-difference design that allows us to isolate community effects from confounders at the individual level. As theorized, we find that social context enhanced women's -- but not necessarily men's -- decision to partake in elections 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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