Since 1916, when the first woman was elected to the US Congress, fewer than 10 percent of all members have been women. Why is this number so extraordinarily small? And how has the presence of women in the electoral arena changed over the past hundred years? Barbara Palmer and Dennis Simon combine a rich analytical narrative, data on nearly 40,000 candidates, and colourful stories from the campaign trail in the most thorough accounting of women's performance in House and Senate elections ever presented. The authors go beyond the conventional wisdom as they explore the continuing under representation of women in Congress. In the process, they show how the ""rules of the game""-together with an important cluster of demographic characteristics that can make a district more or less ""women friendly""-have shaped opportunities for female candidates across a century of US history.