Hot of the press – Legislators' Emotional Engagement with Women's Issues: Gendered Patterns of Vocal Pitch in the German Bundestag

Women in the Bundestag speak more often and more emotionally than men about issues that particularly affect women – because they are more interested in them than their male colleagues. This is the result of a recent study by Oliver Rittmann, CDSS doctoral student at the Department of Political Science.


Through an innovative analysis of audio recordings of plenary speeches, Dietrich, Hayes, and O'Brien (2019) find that women in the U.S. House of Representatives speak with greater emotional intensity about women than other issues. With vocal pitch as a new measure of personal issue commitment, the finding suggests that women legislators' efforts to work on behalf of women result from intrinsic motivation. I ask whether the same is true in an alternative parliamentary setting, the German Bundestag, where personal preferences play a very different role due to strict party discipline. The answer is yes. Analyzing audio and text data from more than 30,000 speeches in the Bundestag between 2011 and 2020, I find that women in the Bundestag address women more frequently and with greater emotional intensity than men. The results suggest that women legislators are more emotionally invested in women-related issues than men.

Many congratulations for the publication!

The complete article is available in the British Journal of Political Science

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