It Still Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 21, 2010 - Political Science
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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.

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1 Electoral Politics
2 Explaining Womens Emergence in the Political Arena
3 The Gender Gap in Political Ambition
4 Barefoot Pregnant and Holding a Law Degree
5 Gender Party and Political Recruitment
6 Im Just Not Qualified
7 Taking the Plunge
8 Gender and the Future of Electoral Politics
Appendix A The Citizen Political Ambition Panel Study Sample Design and Data Collection
Appendix B The FirstWave Survey 2001
Appendix C The SecondWave Survey 2008
Appendix D The Interview Questionnaire
Appendix E Variable Coding
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About the author (2010)

Jennifer L. Lawless is an Associate Professor of Government at the American University, where she is also the Director of the Women and Politics Institute. She was previously a Professor at Brown University, with a courtesy appointment at the Taubman Center for Public Policy. Professor Lawless has published numerous articles in academic journals, such as the American Journal of Political Science, Perspectives, the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Social Problems, and Politics and Gender. She is a nationally recognized speaker, and her scholarly analysis and political commentary have been quoted in various newspapers, magazines, television news programs, and radio shows.

Richard L. Fox is Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University. His research examines how gender affects voting behavior, state executive elections, congressional elections, and political ambition. He is the author of Gender Dynamics in Congressional Elections (1997) and co-author of Tabloid Justice: The Criminal Justice System in the Age of Media Frenzy (2001). He is also co-editor, with Susan J. Carroll, of Gender and Elections, second edition (2010). His work has appeared in Political Psychology, the Journal of Politics, the American Journal of Political Science, Social Problems, PS, and Politics and Gender. He has also written op-ed articles, some of which have appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

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