9780521179249

It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521179249

  • ISBN10:

    0521179246

  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 6/21/2010
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Summary

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.

Author Biography

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 Tablesp. ix
List of Figuresp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Electoral Politics: Still a Man's World?p. 1
Representation, Equality, and the Study of Gender in Electoral Politicsp. 5
Traditional Gender Socialization in the Context of U.S. Politics: The Central Argument and Its Implicationsp. 8
Traditional Family Role Orientationsp. 9
Masculinized Ethosp. 10
Gendered Psychep. 12
Organization of the Bookp. 14
Explaining Women's Emergence in the Political Arenap. 18
Women and Elective Office: The Numbersp. 20
Existing Explanations for Women's Underrepresentationp. 22
Societal Rejection and Cultural Evolution: The Discrimination Explanationp. 24
Institutional Inertia: The Incumbency Explanationp. 28
The Candidate Eligibility Pool: The Pipeline Explanationp. 30
The Missing Piece: Developing a Theory of Gender and Political Ambitionp. 33
The Citizen Political Ambition Panel Studyp. 36
The Gender Gap in Political Ambitionp. 44
Very Much the Same: Gender, Political Participation, Proximity, and Interestp. 46
Very Much Different: Gender and Political Ambitionp. 49
Considering a Candidacyp. 50
Deciding to Enter the First Racep. 55
The Persistent Winnowing Effectp. 56
The Gender Gap in Elective Office Preferencesp. 57
Conclusionp. 59
Barefoot, Pregnant, and Holding a Law Degree: Family Dynamics and Running for Officep. 61
Raised to Be a Candidate?p. 64
Eligible Candidates' Family Structures and Rolesp. 69
Wife, Mother, and Candidate? Family Roles as Impediments to Political Ambitionp. 76
Are Times Changing? Generational Differences in Political Ambitionp. 84
Conclusionp. 87
Gender, Party, and Political Recruitmentp. 89
Eligible Candidates' Political Attitudes and Partisanshipp. 91
Who Gets Asked to Run for Office?p. 95
The Gender Gap in Political Recruitmentp. 97
The Role of Women's Organizationsp. 103
Political Recruitment and Considering a Candidacyp. 106
Conclusionp. 110
"I'm Just Not Qualified": Gendered Self-Perceptions of Candidate Viabilityp. 112
The Gender Gap in Self-Perceived Qualifications and Its Impact on Political Ambitionp. 114
Explanations for the Gender Gap in Self-Perceived Qualificationsp. 122
The Sexist Environmentp. 122
Gender Differences in Defining Political Qualificationsp. 126
Different Yardsticks for Gauging Political Qualificationsp. 131
Conclusionp. 134
Taking the Plunge: Deciding to Run for Officep. 136
Why Would Anyone Run for Office? Negative Perceptions of the Electoral Environment and the Campaign Processp. 138
Gender and the Decision to Enter a Racep. 145
A Side Note on Political Culture and Structural Factorsp. 154
Prospective Interest in Running for Officep. 157
Conclusionp. 161
Gender and the Future of Electoral Politicsp. 163
Summarizing the Findings and Forecasting Women's Representationp. 164
Recasting the Study of Gender and Electionsp. 171
p. 177
The First-Wave Survey (2001)p. 180
The Second-Wave Survey (2008)p. 191
The Interview Questionnairep. 202
Variable Codingp. 207
Works Citedp. 213
Indexp. 231
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