Why Aren't Women Running? Addressing the Underrepresentation of Female American Politicians Through the Leadership Valuation Gap
Access rightsWorldwide access
MetadataShow full item record
The main aim of this paper is to examine the underrepresentation of women in United States elected office and then to propose a psychological explanation for this phenomenon. To do so, I discuss potential disadvantages that women face in running for office. Then, I analyze recent gender trends within American government. From there, I evaluate different factors that may influence a woman’s desire to run for office. I qualify two existing explanations for women’s underrepresentation, the political ambition gap theory and leadership ambition gap theory, by proposing the concept of a “leadership valuation gap.” After establishing this notion, I investigate its effects on the current American political system. Finally, I discuss public policy initiatives that could address the leadership valuation gap, providing real-world accounts from female American politicians and data from a survey that I conducted.