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

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

By: Jennifer L. Lawless (author), Richard L. Fox (author)Paperback

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It Takes a Candidate serves as the first systematic, nationwide empirical account of the manner in which gender affects political ambition. Based on data from the Citizen Political Ambition Study, a national survey conducted on almost 3,800 'potential candidates', we find that women, even in the highest tiers of professional accomplishment, are substantially less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to seek elected 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. 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.

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About Author

Jennifer Lawless received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2003. She is currently an assistant professor of political science at Brown University, with a courtesy appointment at the Taubman Center for Public Policy. Her teaching and research focus on gender politics, electoral politics, and public opinion. She has published numerous articles in academic journals, such as The American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Social Problems, and Women and Politics. She is also the lead author of a public policy report used by EMILY's List, Emerge, and the Women's Campaign School at Yale to help promote and recruit women candidates. Dr Lawless has become a recognized speaker on the subject of women candidates, frequently discussing these issues on national and local television and radio outlets. Richard L. Fox is an associate professor of political science at Union College. He has also taught or held positions at Rutgers University, University of California, Santa Barbara, College Year in Athens, California State University, Fullerton, and the University of Wyoming. He is the author of Gender Dynamics in Congressional Elections (1997) and Tabloid Justice: The Criminal Justice System in the Age of Media Frenzy (2001). He is also co-editor of Gender and Elections Change and Continuity Through 2004 (2005). He has authored or co-authored more than twenty articles and book chapters; his work has appeared in The Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, Social Problems, Political Psychology, PS, Political Research Quarterly, and Public Administration Review. He has also written numerous articles, some of which have appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.


1. Electoral politics: still a man's world?; 2. Explaining women's emergence in the political arena; 3. The gender gap in political ambition; 4. Barefoot, pregnant and holding a law degree: family dynamics and running for office; 5. Gender, party and political recruitment; 6. 'I'm just not qualified': gender self-perceptions of candidate viability; 7. Taking the plunge: deciding to run for office; 8. Gender and the future of electoral politics.

Product Details

  • publication date: 12/09/2005
  • ISBN13: 9780521674140
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 220
  • ID: 9780521674140
  • weight: 309
  • ISBN10: 052167414X

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