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It Still Takes a Candidate serves as the only systematic, nationwide empirical account of the manner in which gender affects political ambition. Based on data from the Citizen Political Ambition Panel Study, a national survey conducted of almost 3,800 "potential candidates" in 2001 and a second survey of more than 2,000 of these same individuals in 2008, Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox find that women, even in the highest tiers of professional accomplishment, are substantially less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to seek elective office. Women are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office. They are less likely than men to think they are qualified to run for office. And they are less likely than men to express a willingness to run for office in the future. This gender gap in political ambition persists across generations and over time. Despite cultural evolution and society's changing attitudes toward women in politics, running for public office remains a much less attractive and feasible endeavor for women than men.
Jennifer L. Lawless is Associate Professor of Government at American University, where she is also the Director of the Women Politics Institute. Richard L. Fox is Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University.
Table of Contents
|List of Tables||p. ix|
|List of Figures||p. xi|
|Electoral Politics: Still a Man's World?||p. 1|
|Representation, Equality, and the Study of Gender in Electoral Politics||p. 5|
|Traditional Gender Socialization in the Context of U.S. Politics: The Central Argument and Its Implications||p. 8|
|Traditional Family Role Orientations||p. 9|
|Masculinized Ethos||p. 10|
|Gendered Psyche||p. 12|
|Organization of the Book||p. 14|
|Explaining Women's Emergence in the Political Arena||p. 18|
|Women and Elective Office: The Numbers||p. 20|
|Existing Explanations for Women's Underrepresentation||p. 22|
|Societal Rejection and Cultural Evolution: The Discrimination Explanation||p. 24|
|Institutional Inertia: The Incumbency Explanation||p. 28|
|The Candidate Eligibility Pool: The Pipeline Explanation||p. 30|
|The Missing Piece: Developing a Theory of Gender and Political Ambition||p. 33|
|The Citizen Political Ambition Panel Study||p. 36|
|The Gender Gap in Political Ambition||p. 44|
|Very Much the Same: Gender, Political Participation, Proximity, and Interest||p. 46|
|Very Much Different: Gender and Political Ambition||p. 49|
|Considering a Candidacy||p. 50|
|Deciding to Enter the First Race||p. 55|
|The Persistent Winnowing Effect||p. 56|
|The Gender Gap in Elective Office Preferences||p. 57|
|Barefoot, Pregnant, and Holding a Law Degree: Family Dynamics and Running for Office||p. 61|
|Raised to Be a Candidate?||p. 64|
|Eligible Candidates' Family Structures and Roles||p. 69|
|Wife, Mother, and Candidate? Family Roles as Impediments to Political Ambition||p. 76|
|Are Times Changing? Generational Differences in Political Ambition||p. 84|
|Gender, Party, and Political Recruitment||p. 89|
|Eligible Candidates' Political Attitudes and Partisanship||p. 91|
|Who Gets Asked to Run for Office?||p. 95|
|The Gender Gap in Political Recruitment||p. 97|
|The Role of Women's Organizations||p. 103|
|Political Recruitment and Considering a Candidacy||p. 106|
|"I'm Just Not Qualified": Gendered Self-Perceptions of Candidate Viability||p. 112|
|The Gender Gap in Self-Perceived Qualifications and Its Impact on Political Ambition||p. 114|
|Explanations for the Gender Gap in Self-Perceived Qualifications||p. 122|
|The Sexist Environment||p. 122|
|Gender Differences in Defining Political Qualifications||p. 126|
|Different Yardsticks for Gauging Political Qualifications||p. 131|
|Taking the Plunge: Deciding to Run for Office||p. 136|
|Why Would Anyone Run for Office? Negative Perceptions of the Electoral Environment and the Campaign Process||p. 138|
|Gender and the Decision to Enter a Race||p. 145|
|A Side Note on Political Culture and Structural Factors||p. 154|
|Prospective Interest in Running for Office||p. 157|
|Gender and the Future of Electoral Politics||p. 163|
|Summarizing the Findings and Forecasting Women's Representation||p. 164|
|Recasting the Study of Gender and Elections||p. 171|
|The First-Wave Survey (2001)||p. 180|
|The Second-Wave Survey (2008)||p. 191|
|The Interview Questionnaire||p. 202|
|Variable Coding||p. 207|
|Works Cited||p. 213|
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