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

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  • Date Published: May 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107535862

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Offers a unified argument for understanding the role that gender plays in contemporary congressional elections
    • Presents and analyzes large data sets in a way that is easy to understand, even for a reader who has little background in statistics or data analysis
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    • Winner, 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Hayes and Lawless tackle the conventional wisdom about bias against females in political campaigns and find that women actually do as well as men when they run. The problem is getting them to seek office because when they run, female candidates are very successful at raising money, conducting professional campaigns, getting media attention, and attracting votes. This is a smart and carefully researched analysis by two leading scholars of American elections."
    Darrell M. West, The Brookings Institution

    "Relying on new data and careful analysis, Hayes and Lawless demonstrate the gap between perception and reality and make convincing arguments about the sources of that gap. Anyone who wants to understand the impact of candidate sex and gender in US elections needs to read this book."
    Kathleen Dolan, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    "A lot of what we think we know about gender and electoral politics in the US is based on intuition. In Women on the Run, Hayes and Lawless provide a welcome corrective. Relying on a variety of novel empirical data sets, the authors craft a thoughtful, engaging, and compelling story of (dare we say it?) gender equity: female candidates fare about as well as their male counterparts in recent American elections. Polarized politics and the declining novelty of female candidates have created the level-playing field we usually dismiss as out of reach. In telling this story, Hayes and Lawless do what political scientists everywhere aspire to but rarely achieve: they tell us something we don't know about relevant political questions."
    Daron Shaw, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Frank C. Erwin, Jr, Chair of State Politics, University of Texas, Austin

    "As the president of a national organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, I have spoken with countless women who are hesitant to run because they fear harsh media scrutiny. Finally, we have an important and thoroughly researched book which demonstrates that the 'novelty' of female politicians, as well as party polarization, have significantly leveled the playing field. When we encourage women to run for office, we can now say with confidence that the media will not treat them any better or worse than their male counterparts. Eliminating this psychological obstacle can have a tremendous impact on women who are considering a potential bid for political office."
    Andrea Dew Steele, President and Founder, Emerge America

    'Using rich data, including newspaper coverage, television ads, and Twitter posts, they explain how women have changed the narrative from gender to issues. Their work is essential reading for anyone studying campaigns and elections, women and politics, party leaders and activists, and pundits and reporters … Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals.' M. J. Blumberg, Choice

    'Overall, Women on the Run provides a clear framework for assessing media communications and print media coverage of candidates, one that can be easily replicated for different election years and offices (e.g., gubernatorial, senatorial races). … This study goes a long way in demonstrating that print media are not biased against women who run for the House, and academics should take the initiative to spread the word.' Meredith Conroy, Congress and the Presidency

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107535862
    • length: 196 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Gender, myth, and reality on the campaign trail
    2. Rethinking and reassessing gender differences on the campaign trail
    3. That's what she said, and so did he
    4. Sex is no story
    5. The party, not the person
    6. The origins and implications of perceptions of gender bias.

  • Authors

    Danny Hayes, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Danny Hayes is Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, Washington DC. A former journalist, his research focuses on how information from the media and other political actors influences citizens' attitudes and behavior. He is the co-author of Influence from Abroad: Foreign Voices, the Media, and US Public Opinion (Cambridge, 2013).

    Jennifer L. Lawless, American University, Washington DC
    Jennifer L. Lawless is Professor of Government at American University, Washington DC, where she is also the Director of the Women and Politics Institute. She is the author of Becoming a Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office (Cambridge, 2012) and the co-author of Running from Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off to Politics (2015) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (Cambridge, 2010).


    • Winner, 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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