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Gender and the American Presidency

Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced

Theodore F. Sheckels; Nichola D. Gutgold and Diana B. Carlin

In Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced, Theodore F. Sheckels, Nichola D. Gutgold, and Diana Bartelli Carlin invite the audience to consider women qualified enough to be president and explores reasons why they have been dismissed as presidential contenders. This analysis profiles key presidential contenders including Barbara Mikulski, Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Kassebaum, Kathleen Sebelius, Christine Gregoire, Linda Lingle, Elizabeth Dole, Dianne Feinstein, and Olympia Snowe. Gender barriers, media coverage, communication style, geography, and other factors are examined to determine why these seemingly qualified, powerful politicos failed to win the White House.

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Lexington Books
Pages: 210Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-6678-9 • Hardback • March 2012 • $84.00 • (£54.95)
978-0-7391-6679-6 • Paperback • March 2012 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-0-7391-6680-2 • eBook • March 2012 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Theodore F. Sheckels is professor of English and communication studies at Randolph-Macon College.

Nichola D. Gutgold is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

Diana B. Carlin is associate vice president for graduate education and professor of communication at Saint Louis University.
Chapter 1. Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers they Faced: An Introduction
Chapter 2. Nancy Landon Kassebaum: The Junior Senator from Kansas with a Mind of Her Own
Chapter 3. Dianne Feinstein: The Loneliness of a Moderate Voice
Chapter 4. Barbara Mikulski: Wrong Style, Wrong Appearance
Chapter 5. Elizabeth Hanford Dole: A Star Surrogate
Chapter 6. Nancy D'Alessandro Pelosi: Tangled-Up in Stereotypes
Chapter 7. Olympia Snowe: Seeking a Sensible Center
Chapter 8. Christine Gregoire: A Competent Communicator
Chapter 9. Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius: Realizing America's Promise
Chapter 10. Linda Lingle: Forgotten Politico in Paradise
Chapter 11. Conclusion: What Must a Presidential Woman Be
Sheckels, Gutgold and Carlin have produced a volume that is a major contribution to the growing literature of women and the modern American presidency. This well-researched and interesting volume looks at nine women who had “the right stuff” to be seriously considered for the presidency, but encountered major obstacles in their journey. In addition to analytical portraits of potential candidates for chief executive, the authors offer solid suggestions for future female candidates and ways in which they might crack the glass ceiling.
Myra G. Gutin, Rider University

Gender and the American Presidency is an interesting and unique approach to studying the role of gender in presidential politics. In looking at the reasons why these nine successful female politicians have been deemed "unpresidential," the authors highlight the many challenges still faced by women in politics, especially when it comes to campaigning on the national level.
Lisa M. Burns, Quinnipiac University

A timely and important book, Gender and the American Presidency offers insightful analysis into the issues female politicians grapple with as they emerge onto the national stage and the role communication plays in the process.
Anne Mattina, Stonehill College

This timely, interesting study examines the careers of nine American women politicians to hypothesize why they were not assessed as presidential material. The women studied occupy the governorship of their states or seats in the Senate, are clearly brilliant leaders, but could not transcend the restricting force of gender obstacles to presidential candidacy. Differences in age, party, region, and rhetorical style are represented, as are evaluations of media coverage of the physical traits the women allegedly possess. The book offers in its first chapter a surprising bibliographic study of the growing literature on women and the American presidency. Few of the politicians studied are likely to be nationally known by readers, and an overview of their careers contributes significantly to the field of gender studies in general. Communication scholars Sheckels (Randolph-Macon College), Gutgold (Penn State, Lehigh), and Carlin (Saint Louis Univ.) are modest about the hypotheses generated--11, listed in the last chapter--by their research. They point out that many of the barriers to candidacy would also apply to men, just, apparently, not nearly so much. This has already become a common notion, and having solid research to confirm it is sure to stimulate further investigation. Summing Up: Recommended.