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Sexism and Gender Bias in Election 2008: A More Complex Path for Women in Politics

  • Jennifer L. Lawless (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

When Hillary Clinton announced her presidential candidacy, questions about the role of gender in presidential politics immediately surfaced. Would gender stereotyping and sexism pervade the electoral environment? Would the media treat Clinton differently than her competitors in the Democratic primary field? Would Clinton's candidacy mobilize women of all types, simply by virtue of its historic nature? And when Clinton lost the Democratic nomination, new questions quickly arose. Was America just not ready to elect a female president? To what extent did Bill Clinton account for Senator Clinton's successes and failures? How would the 18 million women and men who cast their ballots for Clinton vote in the general election? With so many interesting unknowns, political scientists will likely spend the next several years examining Hillary Clinton's campaign and assessing the extent to which her sex affected her experiences and contributed to her primary loss.

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Richard L Fox . 1997. Gender Dynamics in Congressional Elections. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Jeffrey W Koch . 2000. “Do Citizens Apply Gender Stereotypes to Infer Candidates' Ideological Orientations?Journal of Politics 62 (2): 414–29.

Jennifer L Lawless . 2004a. “Politics of Presence: Women in the House and Symbolic Representation.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (1): 8199.

Jennifer L. Lawless , and Kathryn Pearson . 2008. “The Primary Reason for Women's Under-Representation: Re-Evaluating the Conventional Wisdom.” Journal of Politics 70 (1): 6782.

Jane Mansbridge . 1999. “Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent ‘Yes.’Journal of Politics 61 (3): 628–57.

Monika L McDermott . 1997. “Voting Cues in Low-Information Elections: Candidate Gender as a Social Information Variable in Contemporary US Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 41 (1): 270–83.

Monika L McDermott . 1998. “Race and Gender Cues in Low-Information Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 51 (4): 895918.

Eric Plutzer , and John F. Zipp . 1996. “Identity Politics, Partisanship, and Voting for Women Candidates.” Public Opinion Quarterly 60 (1): 3057.

Cindy Simon Rosenthal . 1995. “The Role of Gender in Descriptive Representation.” Political Research Quarterly 48 (3): 599612.

Kira Sanbonmatsu . 2002. “Gender Stereotypes and Vote Choice.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (1): 2034.

Eric R.A.N. Smith , and Richard L. Fox . 2001. “A Research Note: The Electoral Fortunes of Women Candidates for Congress.” Political Research Quarterly 54 (1): 205–21.

Seth Thompson , and Janie Steckenrider . 1997. “Gender Stereotypes and Decision Context in the Evaluation of Political Candidates.” Women and Politics 17 (4): 7192.

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
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