Marshall, Mayhead, and their contributors explore the discourse women use to negotiate political boundaries. The analysis, based on the study of five governorsNellie Tayloe Ross, Martha Layne Collins, Ann Richards, Barbara Roberts, and Christine Todd Whitmanillustrates that women bring issues of caring, empowerment, family, and inclusivity to the office. These issues contrast sharply with traditional male-centered ideologies and give renewed vigor to a revised moral point of view in contemporary politics.
The essays also demonstrate that women governors must still work within the traditional societal constructs for women. Yet, at the same time, they need to create new paradigms that redefine women's roles and exemplify that woman's place is in the private sphere and the public political arena. The work examines the common obstacles these women faced despite differences in era, political affiliation, geographic location, and ideologies. Simply by being elected, each woman operated within a public/private sphere duality she struggled to overcome. Each woman recognized that she needed to craft appropriate rhetorical strategies to succeed in office while not abandoning the unique values and perspectives she brought to the statehouse. The essays contend that women serving in the governorship resculpt the face of the office, restructure the political landscape, and redefine women's roles. The volume will be of particular value to students and scholars dealing with issues of public address and rhetorical criticism, women's communication, political communication, and women in politics.