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More Women Can RunGender and Pathways to the State Legislatures$
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Susan J. Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199322428

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199322428.001.0001

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Gender and the Decision to Run for Office

Gender and the Decision to Run for Office

(p.42) Chapter 3 Gender and the Decision to Run for Office
More Women Can Run
Oxford University Press

Studies typically use a framework of political ambitionpremised onthe idea that candidacy is self-initiated. This chapter advances an alternative relationally embedded model of candidacy that seems to apply more often to women than to men. It finds a large gender gap in how state legislators make the decision to run for office the first time, with women much more likely than men to say that someone suggested it; in contrast, men were much more likely to say that running was their idea. In addition, the chapter finds that family, parties, and organizations play a more important role in women’s decisions to run for office. The chapter argues that women’s decision-making is a more socially and politically embedded process and that women need not possess prior ambition before deciding to run. Acknowledging this alternative model better accounts for women’s experiences and expands conceptions of who can emerge as candidates.

Keywords:   gender, candidacy, ambition, recruitment, elections, political parties, organizations, family

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