When women run
Author: Emily Farris (Texas Christian University).
It’s been one hundred years since white women were granted the right of vote. Many universities and organizations like Women League of Voters are celebrating this milestone. Gender remains a constant theme in politics as more women are elected and involved in politics. This is why it is important to find other ways to discuss gender beyond the traditional place in Introduction to American Politics.
The When Women Run Project
FiveThirtyEight and California State University-San Bernardino partnered to examine these issues in their new When Women Run Project. The project has so far produced two articles by Dr. Conroy (with 538), one looking at the structure and election of women, and another that examines the variation in women’s electoral outcomes across states.
Dr. Conroy showed me how you can use her pieces in an Introduction to American Politics class. These visualizations can be used to quickly understand the levels (state, federal, and branches (congress/executive) of government. Students can identify where women thrive so they can see where they compete. This would allow students to work in small groups and compare states to see how the variation is based on where they live.
These articles could easily be linked to a lecture about federalism, campaigns and elections, or political participation. I appreciate the way she and her colleagues make political science jargon like district magnitude accessible to readers and how they use data from sources such as Center for American Women and Politics of Rutgers.
The project also includes an interesting oral biography of women (97 in total) who have been elected to political office in every state. They ask women politicians if they have been asked gendered questions. They also ask them what the worst sexism was they faced in politics. Podcasts are a great alternative to readings. I can see podcasts being used in class as a break or assignment.
Follow Dr. Conroy on twitter to see more about the project!