Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions

Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions

Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions

Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions


Women and American Politics brings together leading scholars in the field of women and politics to provide an account of recent developments and the challenges that the future brings for the study of gender and American Politics. The book examines women's participation in the electoral arenaand the emerging scholarship on the relationship between the media and women in politics, the participation of women of colour, and women's activism outside the electoral arena. This volume demonstrates both the wealth of knowledge about women and American politics by the current generation ofscholars and the vast number and range of important research questions, which pose a challenge for the next generation.


This volume had its origins in a conference entitled “Research on Women and American Politics: Agenda Setting for the Twenty-First Century.” The three-day conference, held in April 1994, was organized by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University and funded by the Ford Foundation.

The purpose of the conference was to develop an agenda that could help guide research on women and American politics into the twenty-first century. The conference brought together 79 scholars, researchers, activists, and practitioners, all of whom were charged with identifying existing gaps in our knowledge, thinking about new directions for research, and imagining the kinds of research projects that would both enhance our understanding of the dynamics surrounding women's participation in American politics and facilitate the work of those trying to increase women's representation and influence in politics.

The original drafts of the essays that appear in much revised form in this volume were written for different working group sessions that occurred throughout the conference. Each author, a scholar with considerable expertise in the subject matter that was the focus of a particular workshop, was asked to look to the future and suggest an agenda for research that would move in new directions and address major unanswered research questions. Each paper was read in advance by conference participants who participated in the working group, and the workshop session itself was devoted to responding to the ideas of the author as well as providing additional ideas for research.

In the time that has passed since the conference, each author has revised her paper at least twice, incorporating the suggestions of conference participants and updating her essay to reflect developments since the conference took place. The end result is a volume of essays written by some of the foremost scholars in the field of women and politics, who have brought their considerable expertise and personal perspectives to their essays, but who have also benefitted from the collective insights and feedback of many researchers and activists at the forefront of academic and practical work on women and American politics.

This volume is deliberately forward looking. By reading any of the essays, the reader certainly develops a comprehensive understanding of, and appreciation for, what we have learned from previous research. However, the focus of this volume is less on what we do know than on what we do not know. The objective

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