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This paper explores the status of women’s participation in our democracy, in response to both the commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment’s centennial and the deep misogyny aimed at women holding formal political power during the current pandemic. The paper explores the connection between constitutional design and the level of women's participation in democratic governance. It suggests that the robust participation of women in our democracy is not only morally right, but that such parity is central to both the legitimacy of the state and its continued existence. The paper begins by describing the state of women’s participation in formal and informal governance in our democracy as less than robust. It then identifies legislative, regulatory and judicial mechanisms that could be used to enhance that participation. Such an approach better comports with a “thick” understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment as a commitment to women's equal participation in all forms of democratic governance, rather than simply the vote.

Publication Citation

100 Boston University Law Review 1727 (2020)


Constitutional Law | Election Law | Law | Law and Gender