Share this

When Does Gender Matter? Women Candidates and Gender Stereotypes in American Elections, Kathleen Dolan

Reviewed by Jennie Sweet-Cushman



Journalists, pundits, laymen, and scholars interested in women’s representation have been searching after, for several decades now, the smoking gun in women’s continuing underrepresentation in elective office. In When Does Gender Matter?, Kathleen Dolan takes on the prevailing belief and a significant body of academic research suggesting that gender stereotypes have a potent effect in holding women back. This is a bold endeavor given the entrenched conventional wisdom that women in politics are subject to detrimental stereotypes—that stereotypes are the smoking gun.

Dolan’s panel study first examined potential stereotypes in candidate evaluations, then tied those stereotypes to voters’ actual vote choices. Her methods allow her to make a strong and consistent case that women running for office are rarely subject to stereotyping that leads to gender-based discrimination at the ballot box. She finds that individuals offered inconsistent stereotypical evaluations of both male and female candidates. Furthermore, the stereotypes that were expressed seemed to have little impact on how voters ultimately made their vote choices.

What did matter in both the evaluation of candidates and vote choices was political party. A respondent’s party (as well as ideology) predicted everything from attitudes toward women in po

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

North Korea and the West

The Debate over North Korea


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS