Books

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Women Men, & U.S. Politics: Ten Big Questions

In this brief, accessibly written text, Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox focus on the big empirical questions that animate the study of gender and politics and ask students to think critically and analytically about these often surprising findings.

"An interesting, topical approach to unpacking some of the realities of gender in American politics, using clear data and evidence in its arguments about whether our conventional wisdom is accurate or not."
- Kathy Dolan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era

Claims of bias against female candidates abound in American politics. From superficial media coverage to gender stereotypes held by voters, the conventional wisdom is that women routinely encounter a formidable series of obstacles that complicate their path to elective office. Women on the Run challenges that prevailing view and argues that the declining novelty of women in politics, coupled with the polarization of the Republican and Democratic parties, has left little space for the sex of a candidate to influence modern campaigns. The book includes in-depth analyses of the 2010 and 2014 congressional elections, which reveal that male and female House candidates communicate similar messages on the campaign trail, receive similar coverage in the local press, and garner similar evaluations from voters in their districts. When they run for office, male and female candidates not only perform equally well on Election Day - they also face a very similar electoral landscape.

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Running From Office: Why Young Americans are Turned Off to Politics

With more than 500,000 elected positions in the United States, the American political system can only sustain itself and succeed if a large number of citizens eventually put themselves forward for public service. But Washington's performance over the past two decades, with an increase in partisanship, prolonged stalemates, and numerous scandals, has taken a toll on young Americans. In Running from Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off to Politics, Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox explore young people's opinions about contemporary politics and their political ambition (or lack of it). Through an original, national survey of more than 4,000 high school and college students, as well as more than 100 in-depth interviews, Lawless and Fox find that the overwhelming majority view the political system as ineffective, broken, and unappealing. Running from Office paints a complete political profile of the next generation that should sound alarm bells about the long-term, deeply embedded damage contemporary politics has wrought on U.S. democracy and its youngest citizens. 

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Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office

Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office explores the factors that drive political ambition at the earliest stages. Using data from a comprehensive survey of thousands of eligible candidates, Jennifer L. Lawless systematically investigates what compels certain citizens to pursue elective positions and others to recoil at the notion. Lawless assesses personal factors, such as race, gender, and family dynamics, that affect an eligible candidate's likelihood of considering a run for office. She also focuses on eligible candidates' professional lives and attitudes toward the political system.
 

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

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

This important work constitutes a systematic, nationwide empirical account of the effects of gender on political ambition. Based on data from the Citizen Political Ambition Study, a national survey of 3,800 "potential candidates" conducted by the authors, it relates these findings: --Women, even at the highest levels of professional accomplishment, are significantly less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to run for elective office. --Women are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office. --Women are less likely than men to consider themselves "qualified" to run for office. --Women are less likely than men to express a willingness to run for a future office. According to the authors, this gender gap in political ambition persists across generations, despite contemporary society's changing attitudes towards female candidates. While other treatments of gender in the electoral process focus on candidates and office holders, It Takes a Candidate makes a unique contribution to political studies by focusing on the earlier stages of the candidate emergence process and on how gender affects the decision to seek elective office.

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