On a certain level, gender parity in government is an issue of democratic legitimacy: Women are a majority of the American electorate, and yet we have less female representation in government than most of the planet. (In a recent United Nations study of proportional gender representation in government, the U.S. ranked 78th, tied with Turkmenistan.) But according to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand — who has campaigned heavily for other female candidates in this election cycle and is likely to win reelection against a female opponent — the lack of skirts in the Senate is more than a symbolic concern. “My own experience in Congress is when women are on committees and at hearings, the nature of the discussion is different, and the outcomes are better — we reach better solutions, better decisions are made,” she said a year ago. But in this election, with only eighteen women competing…

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