Advisor(s)

Bruce A. Wallin

Abstract

Through literature analysis and interviews with past and present female elected officials, “Lessons from Female Massachusetts Elected Officials: How Women Can be Encouraged to Run for Political Office” explores why there are so few women in Massachusetts elected office and how this issue can be addressed.

As elected offices are meant to allow the people to choose representatives, one could ideally expect that at least half of all elected persons would be female. However, politics has historically been a male-dominated field, and women have only begun to run for office at an increasing rate in the last couple of decades. A government claiming to be representative that does not in fact proportionately represent the full range of its people cannot govern appropriately or legitimately. Women must be encouraged to run for political office so that their voices can be heard in all areas of lawmaking, as their experiences add a new and very different perspective to policy. There is a basic assumption that female elected officials will create change in the political arena because men and women are inherently different. However, the impact of having more women legislators cannot be fully known until more succeed at achieving elected office.

Date Accepted

5-1-2006

Publication Date

5-2-2006

Subject Categories

Women

Keywords

political science, female politicians, politics, Massachusetts

Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Rights Holder

Cristin R. O'Leary

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