Women have more protectionist trade preferences than men do. We assess whether this well-documented relationship between gender and protectionism in the mass public carries over into a relationship between women’s political representation and (a) party platforms, and (b) governments’ trade policy choices. Looking across countries and over time, we demonstrate that with an increase in women’s representation, political party trade policy positions become more protectionist. For government trade policy choices, we identify more nuanced results. The protectionist effect of women’s representation is limited to the most visible products: consumption goods. Women’s representation has no effect on intermediate inputs, where firm demands for trade liberalization are more pronounced and policy makers are thus constrained in implementing a protectionist agenda. These findings contribute to scholarship on the descriptive–substantive representation link, add a new dimension to our understanding of trade politics, and demonstrate the importance of applying a gendered lens to international political economy research.
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