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.
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': gendered self-perceptions of candidate viability; 7. Taking the plunge: deciding to run for office; 8. Gender and the future of electoral politics; Appendix A. The Citizen Political Ambition Panel Study sample design and data collection; Appendix B. The first wave survey (2001); Appendix C. The second wave survey (2008); Appendix D. The interview questionnaire; Appendix E. Variable coding.
“The findings of It Still Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office fundamentally change our understanding of women’s political engagement. The authors’ groundbreaking research revolutionizes how we must approach closing the political gender gap. The work of Lawless and Fox is immeasurably important as we fight for gender equality in our government and encourage more women to ‘take the plunge’ and seek elected office. It Still Takes A Candidate provides a critical tool in changing the face of U.S. politics.”
– Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, President/CEO of WCF (formerly Women’s Campaign Fund)