Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


In the last century, women have increasingly entered the electoral arena. In the past, female elected officials were single and obtained positions largely because they inherited leadership roles from their deceased husbands or were members of wealthy political families (Conway, Steuernagel, and Arern 1997). Now, however, more married and professional women choose to run for office out of their own regard. This paper addresses the central question: Do women have a perceptible presence in campaigns? Specifically, I will touch upon the issues around which women center their campaigns, how they advocate those issues, and how the electorate reacts to female campaigners. This study analyzes various campaigns to determine how often and in what way men and women include "female issues" in their platforms, as well as the extent to which the presence of female candidates influences voters’ decisions to turnout at the polls. This paper will consist of a literature review, followed by a statement of my hypotheses and conclusions. I hope to show that women do in fact have a noticeable impact on campaigns that differentiate them from those solely involving men.