Date of this Version
Policy analysts and scholars are only now beginning the serious task of sifting through the debris of the 1980s to chronicle the impacts of policy chtinges and to evaluate the policies as well as the policymakers. The 1980s will no doubt be remembered as having produced the worst recession since the Great Depression and perhaps, more generally, as a period of economic retrenchment [Dugger 1992]. While many segments of society were affected by the restructuring inherent in Reaganomics, the impact on women merits special attention, particularly in light of demographic changes in voting behavior. It has long been understood that discemable differences exist between women and men on issues, party identification, and candidate selection. Women tend to favor less military spending and more government spending on social services, to more often identify with the Democratic party, and to vote for Democratic candidates over Republican candidates [Matlack 1987; Shapiro and Mah^an 1986; Zipp and Plutzer 1985]. In the 1980s, however, women's participation rates exceeded those of men for the first time in U.S. history. Women emerged from the 1980s as a significant, although certainly nonmonolithic, electoral force.