Politics, Groups, and Identities: Virtual Special Issue

By Meredith Conroy

The WPSA journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities (PGI) has published a virtual special edition accessible to everyone, for free, for an entire year. The articles are all focused in one way or another on gender and politics.

Myself, along with my co-authors Sarah Oliver, Ian Breckenridge-Jackson, and Caroline Heldman, are pleased to be apart of this virtual edition with our article, “From Ferraro to Palin: Sexism in coverage of vice presidential candidates in old and new media.” This article contributes to the scholarship on the topic of media bias in election coverage where women are in the race. While there is some scholarship that suggests women who run for congressional seats are seeing fewer differences in their coverage from their male opponents, this improvement may not follow for women who run for executive office. In our article, we direct our attention to women who have been nominated to the vice presidency. While there are only two instances in our country’s modern history, Ferraro in 1984, and Palin in 2008, we find that we can draw important conclusions from their experiences. Furthermore, our analysis advances the field in that we look not only at print media coverage of the candidates, but also at the political news blogs, for Palin in 2008. We expect these findings to be especially relevant as coverage of political contests continues to move online, and the number of political blogs that attract considerable readership continues to grow.

Also apart of the special virtual edition is the article “Why women’s numbers influence, and when they do not: Rules, norms, and authority in political discussion,” by Christopher Karpowitz, Tali Mendelberg, and Lauren Mattioli. Their article considers critical mass theory, which suggests that as more women participate, women’s voices become more prominent; yet, there are numerous instances around the world where token women succeed, and numerical gender equitable operations still marginalize women. As such, the authors here consider group decision rules, such as unanimity, to better understand when women’s increase in numbers lead to more substantive participation and inclusion of women.

In Nadia Brown’s article “‘Its more than hair…that’s why you should care’: The politics of appearance for Black women state legislators,” Brown extends the literature on descriptive representation, to account for the differences in appearance of Black legislators, and how it may influence their abilities and effectiveness as law makers.

To access these articles, and more truly excellent scholarship on gender and politics, check out the FREE virtual special edition, now.

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