June 11, 2010
WOOSTER, Ohio - When it comes to female political candidates, what's more important in the minds of voters, gender or party affiliation? That question and many others will be addressed next spring at a conference organized by Angela Bos, assistant professor of political science at The College of Wooster, and Monica Schneider, assistant professor of political science at Miami University of
Ohio. The two are collaborating on "Future Directions in the Study of Gender in Political Psychology," a two-day event that will take place at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, March 4-5.
The conference, which is being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to bring together an international group of junior and senior scholars in order to share their recent research, develop mentoring relationships, and facilitate the publication of papers in high-quality
outlets, according to the conference website.
"The conference theme focuses on understanding women as citizens and women as political candidates," said Bos. The conference papers will apply psychological theories and concepts to
understand such questions as (1) How and to what effect do women identify with their gender or with particular subgroups of women? (2) How might campaigns influence group identity and capitalize on these identities? (3) How and why have the gender gaps in political attitudes, political behaviors, and party identification emerged and continued to exist? (4) How do campaigns influence women voters in particular? and (5) How and to what extent are women socialized politically as mothers, wives, working mothers, and single women?
Bos noted that the mentoring and publication aspects of the conference fill gaps that exist for scholars in this field. "A recent report from the American Political Science Association concluded that young women political scientists need additional mentoring, particularly those junior scholars approaching tenure," she said. "Our focus on publication outcomes is also important since recent studies find that research on women and politics is underrepresented in the discipline's publications, particularly in quality outlets."
Bos added that the conference's smaller size and narrowly focused subject matter will make for a very productive event. "Scholars will establish strong relationships with other participants that can lead to future collaborations," she said. "They will also receive quality feedback on their work."
In addition to substantive research presentations, the conference will feature discussions about techniques for teaching about women and politics and about facilitating communication between researchers and campaign practitioners. As part of this, a panel of noteworthy political consultants will participate in a roundtable alongside scholars to focus on how their respective work can guide female candidates to future success.
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