Gender in Campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives

Barbara Burrell
An in-depth study of women congressional candidates over the past two decades


Barbara Burrell presents a comprehensive comparative examination of men's and women’s candidacies for the U.S. House of Representatives in elections from 1994 through 2012. Analyzing extensive data sets on all major party candidates for 10 elections—covering candidate status, party affiliation, fund-raising, candidate background variables, votes obtained, and success rates for both primary and general elections—Burrell finds little evidence of categorical discrimination against women candidates. Women compete equally with men and often outpace them in raising money, gaining interest group and political party support, and winning elections.

Yet the number of women elected to the U.S. House has expanded only incrementally. The electoral structure limits opportunities for newcomers to win congressional seats and there remains a lower presence of women in winnable contests despite growing recruitment efforts. Burrell suggests that congressional dysfunction discourages potential candidates from pursuing legislative careers and that ambitious women are finding alternative paths to influence and affect public policy.

“This book will be pointed to as the definitive work on women running for Congress.”
—Richard Matland, Loyola University, Chicago

Barbara Burrell is a professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University, where she was a member of the Political Science faculty and a faculty associate in the Women’s Studies Program. She is the author of A Woman’s Place Is in the House: Campaigning for Congress in the Feminist Era (University of Michigan Press, 1994), a landmark study of women candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1968 through 1992.

Praise / Awards

  • "Gender in Campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives is a tremendous resource for scholars of women and politics, as well as those who study congressional elections, parties, and interest groups. This book is a welcome update to Professor Burrell’s earlier ground-breaking work."
    --Congress & the Presidency

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News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Barbara Burrell cited in FiveThirtyEight  Link | 7/26/2016

Product Details

  • 296 pages.
  • 33 figures, 32 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12051-2

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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  • Women in politics
    Political campaigns
    Political candidates
    United States House of Representatives
    Congressional elections
    Primary elections