How do women strategically make their mark on state legislatures? Anna Mitchell Mahoney’s book traces the development of women’s state legislative caucuses and the influence both gender and party have on women’s ability to organize collectively. She provides a comprehensive analysis of how and why women organize around their gender identity in state legislatures—or why they do not.
Women Take Their Place in State Legislatures includes a quantitative analysis of institutional-level variables and caucus existence in all 50 states. Case studies of caucus attempts in New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Iowa between 2006 and 2010 examine attempts at creating women’s caucuses that succeeded or failed, and why. Mahoney’s interviews with 180 state legislators and their staff explore the motivations of caucus creators and participants. Ultimately, she finds that women’s organizing is contextual; it demonstrates the dynamic nature of gender.
Mahoney also provides insights into broad questions regarding gendered institutions, collective action, and political party governance. Women Take Their Place in State Legislatures fills a lacuna in the evaluation of women in government.
About the Author
Anna Mitchell Mahoney is an Administrative Assistant Professor of Women’s Political Leadership at Tulane University’s Newcomb College Institute.
"In addition to important documentation of women’s caucuses and where they have emerged, Mahoney offers important theoretical and conceptual contributions to literatures on identity politics, partisanship, and collective action within legislative institutions.... Beyond telling compelling stories about the success or failure of specific caucuses, Women Take Their Place in State Legislatures successfully tells a much larger—and even more broadly applicable—story about the ways in which gender and partisanship significantly shape the patterns, distribution, and exercise of power within our legislative institutions."--State Legislature