Thanks, Daddy's little girl!

Congressmen with daughters are more likely to support women's rights, including abortion.

Published February 10, 2006 7:31PM (EST)

We're all for electing more women to Congress. But while the ratio of men to women serving there remains stuck in the Stone Age, there's a group of unrecognized female power brokers wielding influence on the Hill -- the daughters of congressmen.

Ebonya Washington, an economist at Yale University, analyzed the records of men in Congress who have daughters compared with those of their daughterless colleagues, and found some surprising results among both Republicans and Democrats. As Washington Post columnist Richard Morin reported this week: "She found that members of the House who have a daughter voted more liberally on a range of women's issues, notably abortion, than those who did not. Moreover, the more daughters a congressman had, the more likely he was to vote for reproductive rights."

And what about the women in Congress? Did having daughters correlate with how they voted on these issues? As Morin notes parenthetically: "(There were not enough female lawmakers to allow Washington to draw firm conclusions about them.)" Sigh.

Maybe some of those congressmen's daughters will be inspired by their dads' careers to run for office one day, too.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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