Rebecca Kurtz

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Edward Sidlow


The United States has very few women political representatives, especially at the federal level. Many reasons exist for why women’s representation is not equal, including the power of incumbency and the persistence of gender roles which keep women from entering politics because of a general lack of education and a responsibility to care for one’s family. With the emergence of strong women like Hillary Clinton, the factors historically known to keep women from participating may not be applicable to today. These factors will be evaluated in expectation of finding what makes women politicians successful and what measures can be taken to increase the overall participation of women in all levels of politics.

In order to gauge the role of today’s women in politics, research will be done in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, many scholarly articles exist on this topic. The originals date back to the mid-1960s when second wave feminism was quite prominent. The factors that troubled women during this time will be examined to see how influential they remain today. The more recent works will also be studied to see if any new problems have arisen for today’s women politicians. Finally, newspaper articles and interviews will be closely analyzed to learn more about Hillary Clinton’s success.