See Jane run for president and then see girls become political

May 03, 2006

A study published in the current issue of The Journal of Politics asks if the presence of female politicians inspires political interest and activism in young women. The authors find that it does. The more that women politicians are made visible in the media by national news coverage, the more likely young women are to indicate an intention to be politically active. The authors also find that the adolescents' interest is also heightened by viable female candidates campaigning for high-profile offices. It is not a matter of the number of women holding or running for office, but their visibility. "A highly visible woman politician in the future-- perhaps even as the top of a major party presidential ticket-- has the potential to generate significant interest in political activity," the authors state.

Their research finds that this heightened interest cannot be chalked up to women as role models alone. Political discussions with a parent or another adult family member further explain the greater interest. "Visible female candidates trigger conversations about politics between parents and their adolescent daughters, familiarizing girls with the political world and leading them to envision themselves as participants in politics," the authors explain.
This study is published in the May of The Journal of Politics. Media wishing to receive a PDF please email

The Journal of Politics (JOP) is a general journal of political science publishing Path-breaking work that is theoretically compelling and empirically rich. The JOP strives to maintain a balanced and broad representation of political science as a whole, publishing excellent scholarship throughout all areas of the discipline, including American politics, comparative politics, formal theory, international relations, methodology, normative theory, public administration, and public policy. The JOP is published on behalf of the Southern Political Science Association.

David E. Campbell is an assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Campbell is available for media questions and interviews.

Christina Wolbrecht is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Wolbrecht is available for media questions and interviews.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

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