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The Qualifications Gap


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Table of Contents

1. The gendered qualification gap; 2. Fomenting a gender rebellion; 3. No place for women; 4. A gendered information gap; 5. Do voters expect women to be better than men? 6. Different parties, different standards; 7. Gender bias, disrupted; 8. The future is female; Appendices; References.

Promotional Information

Women need to be significantly more qualified than men to win political office.

About the Author

Nichole M. Bauer is Assistant Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Political Science and the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.


'Meticulously researched, theoretically rich, and methodologically sound, The Qualifications Gap addresses the social roots of gender discrimination, offers fascinating examples from both classic and contemporary political history, and rigorously applies both observational and experimental data to reveal just how complicated the path to political success continues to be for women. Bauer reveals sharp distinctions in the qualifications women must achieve - and must modestly promote - in order to fulfill their enormous potential in politics. Bauer ambitiously goes beyond merely diagnosing the problem by also theorizing and testing proposed solutions: ultimately, she reveals both stark realities behind women's persistent underrepresentation in government but also strategies to help mitigate the political gender gap in Washington.' Samara Klar, Associate Professor, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona
'Nichole Bauer expertly analyzes stereotypes and reveals the persistence - and nuance - of gender bias. Her theory about the 'gendered qualification gap' connects expectations about masculinity and politics to the ways that voters perceive information about candidates based on gender. This thoughtful investigation of voter attitudes, candidate self-presentation, and media coverage is a must-read for those who care about women's continued underrepresentation in politics.' Kira Sanbonmatsu, Professor of Political Science and Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University
'Bauer provides a thoughtful, novel, and innovative exploration of the gender qualification gap in American politics. She carefully and convincingly documents how what might seem like an objective feature of a candidate's background, qualifications, is in fact a highly gendered process, in which women are not rewarded equally for their qualifications by the media or voters. The book shines a much-needed light on this subtle, yet consequential form of bias, which places women running for office at a distinct disadvantage relative to men running for office. It is a must read for any scholar or practitioner interested in understanding the under-representation of women in American politics.' Jennifer L. Merolla, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Riverside

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