Representing All Women

Date01 March 2017
Published date01 March 2017
Subject MatterArticles
Political Research Quarterly
2017, Vol. 70(1) 98 –110
© 2016 University of Utah
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/1065912916675737
As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, I want no country.
As a woman, my country is the whole world.
—Virginia Woolf ([1938] 1966, 197)
Representation is a fundamental tenet of any democratic
nation. Surrogate representation, as defined by Jane
Mansbridge (2003, 522), is the “representation by a rep-
resentative with whom one has no electoral connection—
that is, a representative in another district.” Surrogate
representation is particularly important for historically
marginalized groups, such as women and racial minori-
ties (Mansbridge 1999, 2003), where these groups may
“lose” representation in their own district. Research
shows that the addition of women and racial minority
members of Congress has expanded the U.S. legislative
agenda to better address the interests of women and racial
minorities in U.S. domestic policy (Swers 2002; Tate
2003; Wallace 2014; Wolbrecht 2002).
Surrogate representation is most often examined
within a specific polity. If we expand our conceptual defi-
nition of surrogate representation as potentially occurring
outside of nation-state borders, will we find evidence of
legislators acting as global surrogate representatives?
Scholars exploring the transnational affective ties of race
show that surrogate representation can transcend national
borders by analyzing congressional foreign policy entre-
preneurship (Tillery 2011; Wilson and Ellis 2014). Can
surrogate representation beyond state borders also apply
to gender, when women technically have no “mother
country” and are a large, diverse constituency? Prior
studies illustrate that U.S. congresswomen act as surro-
gate representatives for the interests of American women
(Carroll 2002; Dodson 2006; Swers 2002, 2013). In
recent years, women and girls in foreign countries are
specified targets of American foreign policy legislation.
To explore if congresswomen are acting as global surro-
gates, I test if congresswomen are more likely to intro-
duce American foreign policy legislation that specifies
foreign women and/or girls as policy targets, what I refer
to as women’s foreign policy (WFP).
675737PRQXXX10.1177/1065912916675737Political Research QuarterlyAngevine
1Whittier College, CA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Sara Angevine, Department of Political Science, Whittier College.
Representing All Women: An Analysis
of Congress, Foreign Policy, and the
Boundaries of Women’s Surrogate
Sara Angevine1
Is sisterhood global? This study investigates if women in Congress are representing women worldwide by extending
their surrogate representation of American women to women in foreign countries. Congressional research shows that
race affects surrogate representation across borders via transnationalism. I test whether this also applies to gender
when no shared “mother country” unites women, there are divisions over how to represent women, and American
foreign policy is considered a stereotypically masculine policy domain. With an original dataset of three Congresses
(2005–2010), I test if female House Representatives are more likely to introduce foreign policy legislation that targets
foreign women and girls by applying regression analysis. Controlling for likely individual, electoral, and institutional
incentives, I find that gender matters and that women in Congress are more likely to introduce legislation on behalf
of women worldwide, acting as global surrogates. These findings offer new insights into the boundaries of surrogate
representation, congressional foreign policy decision making, the influence of gender on international relations, and
the impact of women in Congress.
U.S. Congress, foreign policy, impact of women, representation, gender, global surrogate representation

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