Research and Resources on Women and US Politics (February 2017)

This essay first appeared in the February issue of Choice (volume 54 | issue 6).


The 2016 US presidential election included the first female nominee of a major party presidential, Hillary Clinton. This historic election suggests women have achieved parity with men in terms of political power. That assumption would be naïve, disregarding the complex connections between sex and politics. While some women, like Clinton, have gained significant political power, women are still greatly underrepresented in political office, currently holding only 19.4 percent of seats in Congress and 24.5 percent of state legislative seats,1 even though women make up 51 percent of the US population. Research indicates that in childhood, women are socialized to think differently about politics f…

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About the author:

Melinda A. Mueller is Professor, Political Science, at Eastern Illinois University. Dr. Mueller (B.A. Susquehanna University, M.A., Ph.D. Rochester) primarily conducts research on gender and politics, focusing on questions of descriptive and substantive policy representation. Her publications include a book chapter on “soccer moms” and voting, in Engaging the Public: How the Government and Media Can Reinvigorate American Democracy and a forthcoming chapter on gender, campaigning and Twitter, in Social Media and Politics, co-authored with students.