The Impact of Women in Public Office

The Impact of Women in Public Office

Edited by Susan J. Carroll
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/22/2001
ISBN: 978-0-253-10906-4
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"[A] well-integrated volume by . . .one of the best known political scientists working on women and politics. . . . [It] includes contributions by leading scholars in the field, and provides a well-written and accessible overview of the impact of women in office at
every level . . ." —Pippa Norris, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"This [book] will be the standard-bearer not simply because it contains most of the early research in the field but more importantly, because of the wide-ranging scope and diversity of the research and the subsequently nuanced and contextualized arguments presented."-Beth Reingold, Emory University

In recent years the numbers of women serving in public offices at various levels of government have increased markedly. Is the increasing presence of women in public office making a difference? Are women public officials having a distinctive impact on public policy and the political process? These questions are central to the studies in The Impact of Women in Public Office.

These studies 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 and funded by the Charles H. Revson Foundation. 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.

The research presented in this volume offers compelling evidence that women public officials do have a gender-related impact on public policy and the political process. Nevertheless, context matters; these studies demonstrate that the impact of women public officials varies considerably across political environments. Finally, the research in this volume suggests that identification with feminism and/or of particular racial or ethnic group also influence how and to what extent women public officials are making a difference.

Contributors include Edith J. Barrett, Susan Abrams Beck, Janet K. Boles, Susan J. Carroll, Debra L. Dodson, Lyn Kathlene, Elaine Martin, Nancy E. McGlen, Meredith Reid Sarkees, Janann Sherman, Sue Thomas, Sue Tolleson-Rinehart, and Susan Welch.

Author Bio

Susan J. Carroll is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Senior Research Associate at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) of the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She is the author of numerous works on women's political participation, including Women as Candidates in American Politics (Indiana University Press, 2nd ed., 1994). Her current research focuses on the impact of women in Congress, media coverage of women voters and candidates, and the effect of term limits on the representation of women in state legislatures.

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Table of Contents


Introduction, by Susan J. Carroll

Part I. Impact of Women in State and Local Offices
1. Representing Women: Women State Legislators as Agents of Policy-Related Change
Susan J. Carroll
2. Words that Matter: Women's Voice and Institutional Bias in Public Policy Formation
Lyn Kathlene
3. Acting as Women: The Effects and Limitations of Gender in Local Governance
Susan Abrams Beck
4. . Local Elected Women and Policymaking: Movement Delegates or Feminist Trustees?
Janet K. Boles

Part II. The Importance of Political Context
5. "Senator-at-Large for America's Women": Margaret Chase Smith and the Paradox of Gender Affinity
Janann Sherman
6. Foreign Policy Decision Makers: The Impact of Gender
Nancy E. McGlen and Meredith Reid Sarkees
7. Do Women Leaders Make a Difference? Substance, Style and Perceptions
Sue Tolleson-Rinehart
8. The Impact of Women in State Legislatures: Numerical and Organizational Strength
Sue Thomas and Susan Welch

Part III. The Effects of Identity Politics
9. Black Women in State Legislatures: The Relationship of Race and Gender to the Legislative Experience
Edith J. Barrett
10. Feminist Judges: Challenging the Status Quo
Elaine Martin
11. Acting for Women: Is What Legislators Say, What They Do?
Debra L. Dodson