Running as a Woman: Gender and Power in American Politics


The authors show just how women politicians tapped into the vote for the 1992 elections and how they will shape their campaign strategies and political agendas around it in the future. Includes interviews with Geraldine Ferraro, Pat Schroeder, Nancy Kassebaum, and other major political figures. 15 photos.
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Running as a Woman: Gender and Power in American Politics

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The authors show just how women politicians tapped into the vote for the 1992 elections and how they will shape their campaign strategies and political agendas around it in the future. Includes interviews with Geraldine Ferraro, Pat Schroeder, Nancy Kassebaum, and other major political figures. 15 photos.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A journalist, a political scientist and a historian at UC Berkeley, respectively, here offer a broad and anecdotal account that instructively analyzes the evolving history of women as political candidates. The earliest candidates, like Jeannette Rankin who in 1916 became the first woman member of Congress, invoked altruism as their motivation; only after the birth of feminism could women admit to ambition. Despite increases in numbers over the years, the comparative paucity of women politicians means that those who run are likely to be viewed through expectations born of feminine stereotypes. They must face questions about dress, motherhood and marriage that male politicans are never asked. Although women have recently begun to succeed in political fundraising, mobilizing the ``women's vote'' is more difficult and the authors offer only a few tentative suggestions. More perspicacious is their criticism of media coverage of women politicians and their analysis of how individual candidates ``phrase'' the gender issue. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that women, collectively and individually, are gradually accruing the power necessary to reframe the issues that affect them. Nov.
Library Journal
The authors combine the expertise of a prize-winning journalist, a political scientist , and a historian/instructor at the University of California, Berkeley, to look at the influences that helped elect significantly more women to national office in 1992. This is a smoothly woven narrative combining historical material on women's candidacies since the early 20th century, using information gathered during in-depth interviews with such contemporary female politicians as Geraldine Ferraro, Nancy Kassebaum, and Patricia Schroeder. The authors often make their points with anecdotal examples that keep the reader interested, and they address the obstacles women candidates find in their paths, from the difficulties of raising campaign funds to the challenges of keeping media attention focused on the issues instead of their hemlines and hairstyles. Recommended for academic, law, and public libraries with strong women's studies collections.-- Jill Ortner, Hamburg, N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
A gripping exploration of women as politicians—and a primer for those befuddled by what the "women's vote" really is. Witt (a journalist), Paget (a political scientist), and Matthews (History/UC Berkeley) offer an authoritative, detailed exploration of women on the political scene from Jeannette Rankin's bid for Congress in 1916 to the triumph of the self-styled "Thelma and Louise" of the 1992 elections—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. In doing so, the authors blend their expertise seamlessly to illuminate the rocky road of women who have sought political power. Early on, they explain, women in Congress were widows who inherited their husbands' seats. Among the pioneers elected on their own merits were California's Helen Gahagan Douglas, who wheeled a shopping cart into Congress to spotlight economic distress, and Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who wanted no part of being a feminist. But as the women's movement gained strength, more women sought office—though, faced with the burdens of raising money and attacks on their femininity, most tried to blend with male politicians. Later, campaigns of the 1980's played to the "gender gap." The Democrats counted on Geraldine Ferraro's vice-presidential bid to pull the women's vote, but Republican analysts played to women's concerns about the economy and crime, and won. According to the authors, Anita Hill turned that around, and soon women coalesced around women: Checks poured into organizations like Emily's List, which funds women candidates, and women ran and won on women's issues, proclaiming their "different voice." Facts, numbers, and charts add weight to moving anecdotes from women like ColoradoCongresswoman Pat Schroeder, Texas Governor Ann Richards, and others. What's in the future? The authors predict that as more women enter politics, campaigns will become issue-oriented rather than gender-oriented. Thoughtful personal reflection and nitty-gritty political scheming: an important contribution to the always fascinating story of the scramble for power. (B&w illustrations)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028740690
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Edition description: Original
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 0.86 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: The Birthing of a Book
1 Breaking Ground: The Evolution of Citizenship 1
2 Creating a New Tradition: From Altruism to Self-Interest 29
3 Emerging from Jezebel's Shadow: Sex, Gender, and Public Policy 49
4 Squaring the Personal and the Political: The Liability of Being Ms., Mrs., or Mommy 75
5 Crossing the Credibility Threshold: Credentials, Confidence, and Credibility 99
6 Raising the Ante: Campaign Finance and New Women's Networks 125
7 Mobilizing Women's Votes: The Elusive Specter of the Gender Gap 153
8 Decoding the Press: Finessing the Gender Trap 181
9 Delivering the Message: Strategies for Surviving Stereotype 209
10 Losing: Risk as a Rite of Passage 241
11 What Difference Does Difference Make? 265
Notes 285
Index 311
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