SMU - Women in Congress, Breaking the Glass Ceiling

The first book:
gender gap in the race for public office

Why has the integration of women in Congress been so slow, Professors Barbara Palmer and Dennis Simon first asked in 2008 and again in 2010.

Is there a "political glass ceiling" for women? While redistricting has increasingly protected incumbents, it also has the unintended consequence of shaping the opportunities for female candidates.

The political geography and socio-economic profile of districts that elect women differ substantially from districts that elect men. With data on over 10,000 elections and 30,000 candidates from 1916 to the present, Palmer and Simon explore how strategy and the power of incumbency affect women's decisions to run for office.

Breaking the Political Glass Ceiling is the most comprehensive analysis of women in congressional elections available. The Second Edition is fully updated to reflect the pivotal 2006 midterm elections, include Nancy Pelosi's rise to Speaker of the House, Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency, and a record number of women serving as Congressional committee chairs.

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Working from data that includes all elections to the U. S. House of Representative in all congressional districts from 1956 to 2006, they found that upscale, urban and diverse Congressional districts are more women-friendly, while rural, Southern and traditional districts are the least friendly to women.

  Most
Women-Friendly
Districts
2010
  Least
Women-Friendly
Districts
2010
 

SMU Political Science Professor Dennis SimonDennis Simon is an associate professor of political science and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. His work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and Politics & Gender. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. VITAE.

Political Science Professor Barbara PalmerBarbara Palmer is associate professor at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, OH. Her work has appeared in The American Political Science Review, Political Research Quarterly, and Politics & Gender. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota. VITAE.