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More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures (Hardback)
  • More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures (Hardback)
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More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures (Hardback)

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£86.00
Hardback 174 Pages / Published: 19/09/2013
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Women remain dramatically underrepresented in elective office, including in entry-level political offices. While they enjoy the freedom to stand for office and therefore have an equal legal footing with men, this persistent gender imbalance raises pressing questions about democratic legitimacy, the inclusivity of American politics, and the quality of political representation. The reasons for women's underrepresentation remain the subject of much debate. One explanation-that the United States lacks sufficient openings for political newcomers-has become less compelling in recent years, as states that have adopted term limits have not seen the expected gains in women's office holding. Other accounts about candidate scarcity, gender inequalities in society, and the lingering effects of gendered socialization have some merit; however, these accounts still fail to explain the relatively low numbers. This book argues that a major problem with current accounts exists in their underlying assumption that there is a single model of candidate emergence. The prediction is that women's office holding will rise automatically as women acquire the same backgrounds as men and assimilate to men's pathways to office. In this view, the main reasons for women's political underrepresentation can be found in society rather than in politics. Carroll and Sanbonmatsu argue for a new approach that considers women on their own terms and that focuses on the political origins of women's representation. Drawing upon an original and comparative survey of women state legislators across all fifty states, from 1981 and 2008, and follow-up surveys after the 2008 elections, the authors find that gender differences in pathways to the legislatures, first evident in 1981, have been surprisingly persistent over time. They found that, while the ambition framework better explains men's decisions to run for office, women are much more reliant on the existence of organizational and party support. By rethinking the nature of women's representation, this study calls for a reorientation of academic research on women's election to office and provides insight into new strategies for political practitioners concerned about women's political equality.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199322428
Number of pages: 174
Weight: 406 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Using an impressive data set spanning almost 30 years, Susan Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu argue convincingly that women's pathways to elected office are varied and sometimes unique. The authors remind us that political ambition theory drawn predominantly from men's experiences can be woefully incomplete when understanding women's political careers. * Cindy Simon Rosenthal, Director and Curator, Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, University of Oklahoma *
More than an academic analysis, Carroll and Sanbonmatsu offer practical advice for overcoming the barriers and obstacles that have discouraged-and sometimes prevented- women from running. More Women Can Run offers data and insights that will help close the elective gender gap-a gap, the authors argue, that should (and must) be closed if we are to move forward toward that 'more perfect union. * Donna Brazile, Veteran Democratic political strategist, commentator, and former Campaign Manager for Al Gore *
I applaud Susan Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu for their detailed work on the causes of under-representation of women legislators, as well as their identification of ways we might redress this balance. I hope their recognition that the encouragement of the party apparatus is essential for developing female candidates will be a reminder to my party that we can and must do more to foster women candidates in the Republican party. For the good of our party and our nation, we must have more women running for and holding public office. * Christine Todd Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey *
More Women Can Run is a 'must read' for activists, practitioners and academics. Carroll and Sanbonmatsu document what we at EMILY's List have long known: when women support women, women can run and win. We all have a role to play through urging more women to run, backing their candidacies, and contributing financially to their campaigns. This work helps us understand how to build a true representative democracy that includes women. * Ellen Malcolm, Founder and Chair of the Board, EMILY's List *

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