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Research


Impact of Women in Public Office

CAWP’s research indicates that women legislators bring different priorities and experiences to public life. Reports and publications on the impact of women public officials include:

 

“Gender Stereotypes and Attitudes Toward Gender Balance in Government”
Kira Sanbonmatsu and Kathleen Dolan
American Politics Research, August 2008
The desire to elect more women to public office is likely to affect a range of political behaviors and may explain the relatively low levels of women’s descriptive representation overall. Yet, little is known about the public’s view of the ideal gender composition of government. Sanbonmatsu and Dolan find that the public expresses a preference for higher levels of women’s representation than the country has experienced. Women are more likely than men to express a view, though men and women do not differ in their preferences on the ideal percentage of male officeholders. Sanbonmatsu and Dolan examine the role of gender stereotypes and the experience of being represented by women officeholders in shaping support for women’s representation. Available from American Politics Research.

The Impact of Women in Public Office
Edited by Susan J. Carroll
Indiana University Press, 2001, 256 pages
The studies in this book examine the impact of women public officials serving in various offices and locales at local, state, and national levels. They are the product of a large, coordinated research project sponsored by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University. The subjects of these studies range from a single, very prominent U.S. Senator, who served in Congress from the early 1940s to the early 1970s, to local council members in a New Jersey county in the 1980s. They include state legislators from across the country. Order from Amazon and a percentage of the profits from the sale goes to CAWP.

Women State Legislators: Past, Present, and Future
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2001, 14 pages
In 2001, with funding from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, CAWP surveyed female and male state legislators and compared the new data with prior CAWP research findings. The initial brief research reports include descriptions of women legislators today and comparisons with their male colleagues as well as with their 1988 counterparts.

Legislating by and for Women: A Comparison of the 103rd and 104th Congresses
Mary Hawkesworth, Debra Dodson, Katherine E. Kleeman, Kathleen J. Casey, and Krista Jenkins
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2000, 51 pages
This report examines the political work of women legislators in the 103rd and 104th congresses as they attempted to transform their commitment to represent women into law. The report highlights examples of the intensive political labor involved in any effort to legislate for women and explores how women’s needs and interests are defined in the legislative process.

Voices, Views, Votes: Women in the 103rd Congress
Debra L. Dodson, Susan J. Carroll, Ruth B. Mandel, Katherine E. Kleeman, Ronnee Schreiber, and Debra Liebowitz
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1995, 32 pages
This report examines how the women in the 103rd Congress acted to shape the content of legislation, to build support for bills, and to create a political environment in which they could effect change. The research focuses on five policy areas in which there was substantial legislative action during the 103rd Congress: women's health, reproductive rights, health care reform, the Omnibus Crime Bill, and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Reshaping the Agenda: Women in State Legislatures
Debra L. Dodson and Susan J. Carroll
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1991, 122 pages
This report examines gender differences between state legislators in their policy views, actions, and perspectives on the legislative process. Based on surveys of a national sample of state legislators, the research shows women's increased presence in state legislatures has had an impact, and this impact is evident regardless of party, ideology, feminist identification, constituency ideology, seniority, age, or political insider status.

Gender and Policymaking: Studies of Women in Office
Ed. Debra L. Dodson
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1991, 133 pages
This report is a collection of eleven essays written by scholars who received grants from CAWP to investigate the impact of elected and appointed women officeholders at the local, state, and national levels.

The Impact of Women in Public Office: An Overview
Debra L. Dodson, Susan J. Carroll, and Ruth B. Mandel
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1991, 32 pages
This report highlights and summarizes selected findings from CAWP's study of women state legislators and from the eleven CAWP-sponsored studies of women officeholders' impact conducted by individual scholars. It provides information useful to a broad audience interested in women in politics; it should be of particular interest to women running for public office and those who are concerned about bringing more women into public office.

Findings at a Glance: Impact of Women in Public Office
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1991, 8 pages
A summary report on the information from the Impact of Women in Public Office series.

Women Make a Difference
Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1983, 48 pages
Selected findings from CAWP's studies are highlighted in this monograph. A key theme is the difference women can and do make as elected and appointed public officials. The report outlines steps which may be taken to expand women's participation in politics, focusing on those findings which are relevant and useful for women interested in seeking public office and for people who conduct programs to increase women's numbers in public life.