Will Women Ever Break the Political Glass Ceiling?

Political careers are still among the hardest for women to break into. There have been incredible social changes since 1940, with women taking increasing roles in business, the work force, law school, etc. But the rising trends in those career tracks do NOT apply to women entering Congress.

With more than 20 years of combined research experience, Professors Barbara Palmer and Dennis Simon go beyond the conventional wisdom as they explore the reasons behind the continuing underrepresentation of women in Congress.

Among their findings:

  • More than 1/3 of the women currently in Congress come from only 3 states.
      
  • There are 12 demographics in a US House district that can predict which party will win.  Palmer and Simon were the first to apply this idea to gender and discover that demographics also predict whether a male and female candidate will win.
      
  • It is possible to “gendermander.”  Redistricting can have unintended consequences for female candidates.
      
  • Incumbency is not gender neutral.
Their research has been published in a new book, Women & Congressional Elections: A Century of Change.