In 1955 Maurice Duverger published The Political Role of Women, the first behavioralist, multinational comparison of women's electoral participation ever to use election data and survey data together. His study analyzed women's patterns of voting, political candidacy, and political activism in four European countries during the first half of the twentieth century. Duverger's research findings were that women voted somewhat less frequently than men (the difference narrowing the longer women had the vote) and were slightly more conservative.

Duverger's work set an early standard for the sensitive analysis of women's electoral activities. Moreover, to Duverger's credit, he placed his findings in the context of many of the historical processes that had shaped these activities. However, since these contexts have changed over time, Duverger's approach has proved more durable than his actual findings. In addition, Duverger's discussion of his findings was hampered by his failure to consider certain specific factors important to women's electoral participation at the time he collected his data: the influence of political regimes, the effects of economic factors, and the ramifications of political and social relations between women and men. Given this failure, Duverger's study foreshadowed the enduring limitations of the behavioralist approach to the multinational study of women's political participation.


The author implies that Duverger's actual findings are


limited because they focus on only four countries

inaccurate in their description of the four countries in the early 1950s

out-of-date in that they are inapplicable in the four countries today

flawed because they are based on unsound data

biased by Duverger's political beliefs

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