Father votes best…At first blush, this seems reminiscent of studies showing that people who actually know openly gay people are less likely to be homophobic, and people who have active friendships with people of other races are less inclined to hold racist attitudes toward any race. This is another real benefit of multiculturalism—not just providing access to those previously excluded, but providing opportunities to traditionally favored groups to expand their understanding of others.
...if he has daughters, that is.
New research shows that male legislators who have daughters are more likely to cast liberal votes on women's rights issues-- especially reproductive rights.
Yale economist Ebonya Washington compared the voting records of fathers in Congress to scorecards maintained by NOW and the American Association of University Women. And regardless of party affiliation, the more daughters they have, the higher their voting record score on issues like flexibility for working families, pay equity, abortion rights and violence against women. Legislators with all daughters have scores that are 12 points higher than those with all sons.
So what about mothers in Congress? Uh, there aren't enough of those to draw firm conclusions.
And that’s the real issue when we talk about whether it matters if a party leadership is almost exclusively white and straight and male; if those white, straight males can relate to and empathize with women, gay men, and men of color, and translate that empathy into legislation that sufficiently addresses their needs, then it’s not a problem. But that has not been, historically, the case. Multiculturalism stands to change that, both in broadening access and making the race, sexual orientation, and/or gender of legislators less important, because all of us will understand one another that much better.