Here’s Why Women Make Better Senators

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The number of women in Congress reached 100 for the first time ever after the midterm elections in November. The stark gender disparity has even more need to be remedied in light of a new study from Quorum that shows that female senators actually get more done.

Congress’s pathetic approval rating of 15% is mostly due to it being extremely ineffective and terribly afflicted by gridlock. Perhaps with more women in Congress, at least in the Senate, more deals would be made, according to the new study. Quorum analyzed seven years of data and found that the average female senator co-sponsored 6.29 bills with another Senate woman, while the average male senator co-sponsored 4.07 bills with another Senate man. And women were actually willing to get bipartisan work done: Quorum found the average female senator co-sponsored 171.08 bills with a member of the opposite party; for the average male senator, that figure was 129.87.

“Women are not only introducing more legislation over the last seven years, but they are also getting more support for that legislation, getting more bills out of committee and getting more enacted than their male colleagues in the U.S. Senate,” said Alex Wirth, Quorum’s co-founder.

Even more specifically, women are working better with women across the aisle: Quorum reports that, since the 111th Congress, the average female senator has cosponsored 3.79 bills along with all female counterparts of the opposite party, while the average male senator cosponsored just 2.16 bills with all male members of the opposite party. Women were also more likely to gain cosponsorship: They had an average of 9.10 cosponsors in the Senate, while men had only 5.94.

The numbers in Quorum’s study support articles like this one that Time published in the fall of 2013, “Women Are the Only Adults Left in Washington,” which told the story of female senators working together to end the government shutdown. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) spoke on the Senate floor appealing to end partisan blame. The other women in the Senate were the ones who listened — soon almost all 20 of them (yes, there were only 20, and still are only 20 women in the Senate) — gathered for dinner and to discuss the shutdown.

Unsurprisingly, Collins is one of the women who has excelled in working across the aisle, cosponsoring 740 bills with opposite party sponsors. Following her, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) cosponsored 445, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) cosponsored 217, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) cosponsored 200, and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) cosponsored 172.

The edge that females have in productivity doesn’t extend to the House of Representatives, according to Quorum’s analysis.

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