NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Women Voters

March 17, 2004

Today's young women are failing to vote at an alarming rate. The female gap recently was revealed in a study conducted by Rutgers, George Mason and DePaul universities for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Researchers found:

  • Just 22 percent of women under 30 say they are regular voters compared to 29 percent of men under 30 who say they vote regularly.
  • The missing female votes could add up to as many as 1 million votes in the next election.

So why do so few women vote?

  • Democratic pollster Celina Lake says that today's young women are more cynical and have been taught to distrust the government by their baby boomer parents.
  • Others suggest women still don't feel confident about their views or that their views matter.

And then there's the problem of not having anyone to vote for who may share your viewpoint: Women make up 52 percent of the population but less than 14 percent of Congress and 22 percent of state legislatures.

In an ironic twist, women in countries the United States is trying to liberate may end up with more women in office than Americans will.

The Afghan constitution mandates that about 20 percent of that country's loya jirga (grand council) must be women, and the proposed Iraqi constitution requires 25 percent of that nation's representatives be female.

Source: Rena Pederson, "The Missing Misses: Why aren't young women showing up at the polls?" Dallas Morning News, March 7, 2004.


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