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


  • Date Published: September 2005
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521674140


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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • First broad national study of potential candidates
    • Only book treatment of gender and political ambition
    • Only work to uncover dramatic gender differences in political ambition (rooted in family roles, patterns of recruitment, self-perceived qualifications)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "It Takes a Candidate offers new evidence and insight on central issues of political representation and democratic politics. Lawless and Fox have executed an important study of the root causes of why women are underrepresented among American officeholders. By investigating political ambition among individuals in feeder occupations, they advance our understanding with new theory and evidence. The book, moreover, is written in a thoroughly engaging and accessible manner and will appeal to anyone curious about patterns critical to the operation of American democracy." Walter J. Stone, University of California, Davis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521674140
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.309kg
    • contains: 33 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Authors

    Jennifer L. Lawless, American University, Washington DC

    Richard L. Fox, Union College, New York

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