POLS 373: WOMEN AND POLITICS    (Fall 2006)

M & W 2:00-3:15   DuSable 461

Department of Political Science

Northern Illinois University


Professor L. Kamenitsa                                                            Office: Zulauf Hall 107

Phone: 753-7053                                                                     Office Hours: M 12:30-1:30 &

e-mail: Lynnkam@niu.edu                                                      3:30-4:30 & by appointment


This course examines multiple dimensions of gender in political life in the United States and abroad.  We will begin with an analysis of what constitutes "politics" and why and how women have been excluded from politics historically.  The remainder of the course is divided into four segments. First, we learn about women in institutional politics with a focus on the United States. We examine their participation as voters, candidates, and elected officials in conjunction with public perceptions of women in those roles.  Second, we examine women as collective actors in U.S. politics.  Third, we look at several public policy issues, how they impact women, and how women -- voters, politicians, activists -- impact public policy.  Finally, we use the frameworks presented in the first three sections to compare women in political life in other countries.




1.      Ford, Lynne E. Women and Politics: The Pursuit of Equality. 2nd edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.


2.  Carroll, Susan J. and Richard L. Fox, editors. Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.


3.  Required articles and book chapters are also assigned.  Most are available on-line via Blackboard or Electronic Reserve.  A few are only are available at the Founders Library Reserve Desk.  Most of these required readings and the means of accessing them are indicated in the syllabus.  Additional readings will be announced in class or on Blackboard.


4. Students are required to monitor a major daily newspaper (like the New York Times) in addition to other regular news media sources.  This will be particularly important as preparation for our regular discussions of gender in the 2006 campaigns and elections.  Given the nature of the research assignment, students are expected to read campaign coverage in the Chicago Tribune as well as other state and regional news media on a regular basis.



GRADING:    Exam I                                    30%

Exam II                                    35%    

Class                                        10%

Research Project                      25%



There will be two exams for the course (10/16 & 12/11).  Both will be primarily essay exams.  The second exam will cover material presented in the second half of the course, but may require students to draw on material from the first half of the course in a general way.  NO MAKE-UP EXAMS WILL BE GIVEN, except in case of emergency and then only at the discretion of the professor (contact the professor before the exam!).  If there are problems or conflicts, contact the professor well in advance of the exam.


Students are to do the assigned readings before the relevant class period and to come to class prepared to discuss them.  Class will be conducted with the assumption that students have done the reading and been to previous sessions. 

The class format will consist of lectures and discussions.  Students will have ample opportunity to participate in making the course interesting and relevant, including discussions of the fall 2006 elections and discussions in response to reading questions posted on Blackboard.  Students' comments and questions on readings, lectures, and current events are welcome and encouraged.  For this format to work students need to come to class and come to class prepared.  This portion of your grade is designed to reward students who do that.

The class grade consists of two components: attendance and in class performance (asking and answering questions, participating in discussions, staying awake, etc.).



Each student will be select one a few high profile electoral races involving female candidates to follow this semester.  The student will simultaneously follow the race and explore the theories and findings of scholarly research related to female candidates. The final paper will analyze developments in the actual race according to an original hypothesis derived from a review of the scholarly literature on the topic.  Likely races include the Topinka- Blagojevich gubernatorial race and the Duckworth- Roskam congressional race.


In addition to the final paper, the research project includes several assignment intended to help the student become familiar with the race, the scholarly literature, and developing a hypothesis and research design.  Details for each will be distributed in class. Due dates are listed below:


Campaign-to-date summary  (1-2 pages)  - 10% of project grade; DUE 9/20

Literature review, hypothesis, & research design  (2-3 pages) – 15% of project grade; DUE 10/11

Final paper (10-12 pages) due – 75 % of project grade; DUE 11/20





This course uses the university’s Blackboard Course Server for posting assignments and communicating with students.  This course website can be accessed only by students enrolled in this course.  The URL for Blackboard is http://webcourses.niu.edu . Login with your student Z-ID and password. For login questions go to http://www.helpdesk.niu.edu/ and click on “Blackboard” or contact ITS at 753-8100. The system uses your NIU student webmail account (NetMail).  To receive course-related e-mails at another address, you need to forward mail from your NIU account to another account. (Learn how at http://www.its.niu.edu/its/helpdesk/webmail_students.shtml .)  It is your responsibility to set this up -- do it today! Blackboard sometimes goes down unexpectedly.  Therefore, do not wait until the last minute to access materials you need on Blackboard. 



No paper (or other written assignment or exam) submitted for another course or written by another person will be accepted.  Plagiarism - presenting the thoughts or words of others as if they were your own - will not be tolerated.  You must credit all of the sources from which you obtain data, information, ideas, or language with a full and accurate citation (and quotation marks, when appropriate).  Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty can result in an automatic "F" for the course and even expulsion from the University (see the Student Judicial Code). Criteria for these offenses are described in the Student Judicial Code and the Undergraduate Catalog. 


NOTE: All written assignments must be typed or word-processed. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the specified date.  Late assignments will be penalized one grade increment for each 24 hour period they are late (A- becomes B+).  Work turned in more than one week late will be accepted only at the discretion of the professor.



COURSE SCHEDULE                       (additional readings may be announced in class or via Blackboard)


                        [Bb] = available on Blackboard

                        [E-reserves] = available on electronic reserves; URL posted on Blackboard

                        [online] = available on the internet; URL posted on Bb and at end of this syllabus



Week 1                        Course Introduction: Politics, Women, & Representation

8/28 & 8/30

Reading:          Ford: Ch.1, pp. 1-30

                        Carroll & Fox:             Introduction, pp. 1-11


Week 2                        Women, Representation, & Equality

9/4 Labor Day – no class


Reading:          Ford: Ch 2 pp. 31-70

                        Carroll & Fox:             Ch 1 (Duerst-Lahti), pp. 12-42





Week 3                        Voters and Public Opinion

9/11 & 9/13

Reading:          Ford: Ch 3 pp. 71-109

                        Carroll & Fox:             Ch 2 (MacManus) pp. 43-73

Ch 3 (Carroll), pp. 74-96

                        CAWP, "Gender Gap in 2004…" [Bb]



Week 4                        Candidates & Campaigns

9/18 & 9/20

Readings:         Ford: Ch. 4 pp. 110-148

Carroll & Fox:             Ch 4 (Fox), pp. 97-116

Ch 7 (Bystrom), pp. 169-188


*** Campaign-to-date summary   DUE 9/20 ***



Week 5                        Candidates & Campaigns (continued)

9/25 & 9/27                

Reading:          Carroll & Fox:             Ch 5 (Smooth) pp. 117-142

Ch 6 (Burrell) pp. 143-168

Ch 8 (Sanbonmatsu) pp. 189-214



Week 6                        Women as Elected Officials

10/2 & 10/4                

Reading:          Ford: Ch 5, pp. 149-188

McGlen et al., "Women's Political Participation" (Ch.2), pp. 90-123 only [E-reserve]

“Round Table Discussion: Women and Reflections on Congressional Life.” [E-reserve]



Week 7                        Overcoming Barriers

10/9 & 10/11

Reading:          Carroll, Susan J. “The impact of term limits on women.” [Bb]

                        Duerst-Lahti, "The Bottleneck: Women Becoming Candidates," pp. 15-25 [E-Reserve]


*** Literature review, hypothesis, & research design   DUE 10/11 ***





Week 8                        Women's Activism & Movements:

10/16 & 10/18

Reading:          Ferree & Hess, "Setting the Stage" (Ch.) & "Ideas, Ideals, and Ideology" (Ch.2) pp. 1-51 [E-reserve]


****Exam I  -- MONDAY  10/16 ****  -- Covers all material from Course Intro & Part I



Weeks 9                      Women's Movements in U.S. Politics

10/23 & 10/25

Reading:          Ferree & Hess, "Looking Toward the New Millennium" (Ch. 8), pp. 195-219 [E-reserve]

                        Kaminer, “Will Class trump Gender” [Bb]

Mansbridge & Smith. “How did feminism get to be ‘all white’?” [Bb]


Week 10a                    Women's Movements in U.S. Politics (continued)


Reading:          Women's Movements Today - an electronic readings packet [Bb]





Week 10b                    Understanding Public Policy & Politics

10/30                           Education Equity Issues

Reading:          Ford: Ch. 6, pp. 189-223

Conway, Ahern, & Steuernagel, “Women and Public Policy” (Ch.1) [E-reserve]



Week 11                      Economic Equity: Work, Pay, and Family Issues

11/6 & 11/8

Reading:          Ford: Ch 7, pp. 224-283

                        Cohn,  Child's play.” [Bb]     

                        Mattox, “How to help childraising families prosper?”[Bb]

                        Welfare Reform Assessments - a packet or readings available on Blackboard



Week 12                      Family, Reproduction, and Sexuality Issues

11/13 & 11/15 

Readings:         Ford:  Chs. 8 & 9, pp. 284-338

                        Gornick, “Reconcilable differences.” [Bb]

                        Public Policy & Reproduction - a packet of readings available on Blackboard






Week 13                      Understanding gender and politics across cultures


11/22 - THANKSGIVING BREAK (no class)

Reading:          Patterson, Amy S.,  Women in global politics: progress or stagnation?.” [Bb]

                        Sarin, Radhika. "Women gain political seats, but…" [Bb]

                        Shvedova, Nadezdha,  Obstacles To Women's Participation  In Parliament.”  [online]

                        Christopher, Karen, “Family-friendly Europe.” [Bb]

                        Waylen, Georgina, “Analysing Women in the Politics of the Third World.” [E-reserve]



**** Final paper  DUE 11/20 ****


Week 14                      Women & Democratization: Issues & Activism

11/27 & 11/29


Reading:          Dahlerup,  Quotas are Changing the History of Women” [Bb]

                        Gordon, April, “Women & Development.”  [E-reserve]

Coleman,  "The Payoff From Women's Rights"  [Bb]

Polgreen, Lydia. "In First for Africa…" [Bb]



Week 15                      Women & Democratization: Issues & Activism (continued)

12/4 & 12/6


Reading:          Goodwin, “An uneasy peace.”[Bb]

                        Moreau & Yousafzai.  "'Living Dead' No More." [Bb]

                        Women in Afghan Politics -- a packet of recent articles available on Blackboard


Final exam period:       ***** Exam II,  Monday 12/11, 2-3:50 p.m.,  DuSable 461 *****







Carroll, Susan J. “The impact of term limits on women.” Spectrum v. 74 no.4 (Fall 2001) p. 19-21.  [Bb*]


CAWP (Center for American Women and Politics). "Gender Gap in 2004 Presidential race is Widespread." Available at: http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/Facts/Elections/GG2004widespread.pdf  [Bb]


Christopher, Karen. “Family-friendly Europe.” American Prospect v. 13 no7 (Apr. 8 2002) p. 59-61. [Bb*]


Cohn, Jonathan. “Child's play: why universal, high-quality day care should be elementary.”  American Prospect v. 11 no15 (June 19-July 3 2000) p. 46-9.  [Bb*]


Coleman, Isobel. "The Payoff From Women's Rights"  Foreign Affairs 83 no3 80-95 My/Je 2004 [Bb*]


Conway, M.Margaret, David W. Ahern, and Gertrude Steuernagel.  “Women and Public Policy.” (Ch. 1) Women & Public Policy: A Revolution in Progress. Third Edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2005. [E-reserve]


Dahlerup, Drude.  "Quotas are changing the history of women" Paper delivered at the conference "Implementation of Quotas: African Experiences" in Pretoria, South Africa, November 2003.  Available on the website of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance at the URL: http://www.quotaproject.org/papers_SU.htm [Bb]


Duerst-Lahti, Georgia. “The Bottleneck: Women Becoming Candidates.”  In Women and Elective Office: Past, Present, and Future, edited by Sue Thomas and Clyde Wilcox. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Pp. 15-25. [E-reserve]


Ferree, Myra Marx and Beth B. Hess.  “Looking toward the New Millennium.”(Ch.8). Controversy and Coalition, Third Edition. New York: Routledge, 2000. Pp. 195-219. [E-reserve]


Ferree, Myra Marx and Beth B. Hess.  “Setting the Stage” (Ch.1) and “Ideas, Ideals, and Ideology” (Ch.2). Controversy and Coalition, Third Edition. New York: Routledge, 2000. Pp. 1-51. [E-reserve]


Goodwin, Jan. “An uneasy peace.” The Nation 274: 16 (Apr. 29 2002) p. 20-3. [Bb*]


Gordon, April A. “Women & Development.”  In Understanding Contemporary Africa Third Edition, edited by April A. Gordon and Donald L. Gordon. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2001. Pp. 271-297. [E-reserve]


Gornick, Janet C. “Reconcilable differences.” American Prospect v. 13 no7 (Apr. 8 2002) p. 42-8. [Bb*]


Kaminer, Wendy. “Will class trump gender? The new assault on feminism.” American Prospect
no29 (Nov./Dec. 1996) p. 44-52.
. [Bb*]


Mansbridge, Jane. and Barbara Smith. “How did feminism get to be ‘all white’? A conversation between Jane Mansbridge and Barbara Smith.” American Prospect v. 11 no9 (Mar. 13 2000) p. 32-6. [Bb*]


Mattox, William R., Jr. “How to help childraising families prosper?” The American Enterprise v. 12 no3 (Apr./May 2001) p. 14-15. [Bb*]


McGlen, Nancy, Karen O'Connor, Laura van Assendelft, and Wendy Gunther-Canada. 2005.  "Women's Political Participation" (Ch.2). Women, Politics, and American Society. Fourth edition. New York: Pearson. Pp. 90-123 [E-reserve]


Moreau, Ron  and Sami Yousafzai.  "'Living Dead' No More." Newsweek 144: 15 (10/11/2004). [Bb*]


Patterson, Amy S.  “Women in global politics: progress or stagnation?.USA Today  v. 129 no2664 (Sept. 2000) p. 14-16. [Bb*]


Polgreen, Lydia. "In First for Africa, Woman Wins Election as President of Liberia." New York Times (nytimes.com) November 12, 2005. [Bb]


“Round Table Discussion: Women and Reflections on Congressional Life.”  Extensions: A Journal of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center.’ Spring 2000.  [E-reserve]


Sarin, Radhika. "Women gain political seats, but gap in education and employment persists." World Watch 16 no5 8 September/October 2003 [Bb]


Shvedova, Nadezdha.  “Obstacles To Women's Participation In Parliament.”  (Ch. 2)  Women in Parliament: Beyond the Numbers.  Available on the website of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance at the URL:  http://www.idea.int/publications/wip2/upload/2.%20Obstacles_to_Women's_participation_in_Parliament.pdf  [online]

Waylen, Georgina. Analysing Women in the Politics of the Third World.” In Women and Politics in the Third World, edited by Haleh Afshar. New York: Routledge, 1996. [E-reserve]



[Bb*] = available on Blackboard AND on WilsonSelectPlus, an OCLC Database on the NIU library website




Undergraduate Writing Awards:  Papers written for 300-400 level courses in the Department of Political Science (including this course!) are eligible for the Department’s undergraduate writing award.  Your hard work could earn you $50, a certificate, and a nice line on your resume.  Papers written in calendar year 2006 are due in February 2007. See the Department website for more details.


Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities:  Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.


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