The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch

The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch

The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch

The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch


This study explores the career paths of women within the executive branch of US government and considers gender as a variable in complex organizations. The essays investigate the personality and leadership styles of women, and their attitudes towards public issues using various perspectives.


In this collection the editors have compiled a series of research projects that bridge two previously distinct fields: that of executive politics and that of women and politics. Research in this area has been rapidly developing, and the contributors to this volume are among those who have been at the cutting edge of this emergent area of study.

Those of us who teach in the area of the American presidency have been asked increasingly by students of U.S. politics exposed to writings of feminist theorists or to gender as a framework for analysis or to women as a unit of analysis how women fit into presidency studies or how gender can be incorporated in our research.This volume can provide insight into those questions.

For example, the nomination of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state highlights the important fact that women are increasingly occupying positions involved in decisionmaking.In Barbara Hinckley's study of foreign policy making, Less Than Meets the Eye, she notes that often it is not the president but the presidency (e.g., those in the State Department or the Office of the Special Trade Representative) who make decisions in the area of foreign policy.

When we say that the President makes foreign policy, what do we mean by "President?" Surely we do not mean the entire executive branch.Agencies have their own bureaucratic incentives and routines, while their ties to Congress and to clientele groups outlast any one sitting president.For every covert activity a president authorizes, we assume many others are going forward. Foreign policy is made within agencies at State, at points in Defense, Treasury, Agriculture, the Agency for International Development, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Information Agency, among others.It is made in the many intelligence agencies.... Presidents are chief in name only of such a vast operation.

In turn, the role and influence of women may therefore be dependent upon the nature of the policy arena (e.g., crisis versus routine decisionmaking) . . .

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