More women candidates are appearing on ballots this summer and fall, and a substantial majority of the respondents to our most recent community survey found that to be a good thing.

Asked whether they thought increased representation by women was an important consideration when they voted, 70 percent of the 200 respondents said a candidate’s gender was very important or mattered a little. Just three in 10 said gender made no difference.

More women candidates from both major parties have been running for our area’s state and federal offices in recent years. How important to you is increased representation by women officials when you choose a candidate?

And the gender of the person answering the question seemed to matter in determining her or his answer. About two thirds of the people who answered gender was “very important” were women. And nearly twice as many men as women felt that gender made no difference.

The survey was conducted by cellphone and is not scientific.

Among many of the respondents who felt increasing the number of women in elective office was important to do, expectations are high for the changes more women officials would bring to governing, both locally and nationally.

Those respondents said they expected change on a wide variety of topics: gun control; listening to constituents; better family care policies; more money for education; more accountability and less corruption in government. One 38-year-old woman predicted the result would be “more logical thinking and open-mindedness.”

“I’m not sure there will be new or different policies, but there will be more diverse conversations around all policy discussions,” a 54-year-old Brookhaven woman commented.

A 29-year-old Buckhead man predicted that having more women in elective office would mean “more support for Planned Parenthood, education reform and equal rights for women.” A 28-year-old Dunwoody man expected “better family care (e.g., maternity leave, childcare) and reproductive rights policies.”

And a 55-year-old Sandy Springs woman thought “new changes and policies could be more inclusive.”

Not everyone thought the gender of a candidate mattered, however.

“I would imagine more women in office would have little effect on policies,” a 49-year-old Sandy Springs man said. “Politicians by nature are consensus-driven, whether through their constituents, inner-circle or financial backers. I don’t see women as having more or less ability in his area.”

Here’s what some other respondents had to say:

“The issues we have aren’t gender-specific.”
– 47-year-old Brookhaven woman

“Gender is meaningless to me when I evaluate candidates. Who is most qualified? Whose values best match mine?”
– 51-year-old Buckhead man

“Hopefully they can do something about the wage gap.”
– 24-year-old Sandy Springs man

“Definitely a lot more policies regarding women’s rights in the workplace, and maybe a new perspective on any current policies needing change.”
– 22-year-old DeKalb County woman

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.