TitleBreaking through the glass ceiling
NameBorie-Holtz, Debra Ann (author), Rosenthanl, Alan (chair), Crowley, Jocelyn (internal member), Coleman, Henry (internal member), Zukin, Cliff (internal member), Sanbonmatsu, Kira (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectPlanning and Public Policy,
Women legislators--United States,
Sex discrimination against women--United States--Political aspects
DescriptionWhile some women have cracked the glass ceilings of state legislatures, in most states they are still getting stuck in the rafters of the ornately decorated chambers in which they serve when it comes to ascending to top leadership posts. Less than one-third (29%) of the states’ legislative bodies have been headed by women since 1997. Just 40 women in all have served as presiding officers during this period. For the most part, women have been limited to tertiary or secondary committee leadership positions while the increase in women policy leaders have been largely confined to the Executive Branch. This dissertation examined the antecedents to legislative leadership in the states’ lawmaking chambers and examined whether the antecedents varied by gender. This research also investigated whether institutional, electoral and egalitarian factors influenced who became a leader and examined if factors impeded access to top leadership for women as compared to men. Finally, this research compared the individual styles and behaviors of men and women leaders and examined the influence gender purports to play in the policy preferences, proposals and products of leaders. This research found that leaders shared many common traits including higher levels of education, professional, financial and management careers, as well as chamber seniority. Women do not have equal access to top leadership as compared to men; in part, because women start their legislative careers later in life and take-on different family responsibilities. As for structural barriers, factors such as term limits, constitutionally vested powers and chamber size as well as electoral composition appeared to influence who led in the states. The lack of proportional representation by women at both the tertiary and secondary leadership levels had the greatest implications. Overall, the styles and behaviors of women and men leaders were quite similar. Furthermore, women did not attempt to make wholesale changes in the chambers in which they led. The policy preferences of leaders fused along the policy proposals and products priorities of the caucus. The job of top leadership was shaped by the policy and political interests of the caucus, not by the leader.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Debra Ann Borie-Holtz
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.