Women Take Their Place in State Legislatures

The Creation of Women’s Caucuses

Anna Mitchell Mahoney
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1597-4
Publication: Nov 18

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1596-7
Publication: Nov 18

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1598-1
Publication: Nov 18

258 pages
5.5 x 8.25
19 tables, 2 maps

Investigating the opportunities, resources, and frames that women utilize to create legislative caucuses

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


How do women strategically make their mark on state legislatures? Anna Mitchell Mahoney’s book traces the development of women’s state legislative caucuses and the influence both gender and party have on women’s ability to organize collectively. She provides a comprehensive analysis of how and why women organize around their gender identity in state legislatures—or why they do not.

Women Take Their Place in State Legislatures includes a quantitative analysis of institutional-level variables and caucus existence in all 50 states. Case studies of caucus attempts in New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Iowa between 2006 and 2010 examine attempts at creating women’s caucuses that succeeded or failed, and why. Mahoney’s interviews with 180 state legislators and their staff explore the motivations of caucus creators and participants. Ultimately, she finds that women’s organizing is contextual; it demonstrates the dynamic nature of gender.

Mahoney also provides insights into broad questions regarding gendered institutions, collective action, and political party governance. Women Take Their Place in State Legislatures fills a lacuna in the evaluation of women in government.

Table of Contents

  1. Women Take Their Place in Legislatures
  2. Many Paths to Yes: The Creation of Women’s Caucuses
  3. For Women, There Is No One Way or Place to Caucus
  4. The New Jersey Women’s Legislative Caucus
  5. The Colorado Women’s Legislative Caucus
  6. The Pennsylvania Attempt
  7. The Iowa Attempt
  8. Explaining Women’s Caucuses Notes
    Cited Interviews

About the Author(s)

Anna Mitchell Mahoney is an Administrative Assistant Professor of Women’s Political Leadership at Tulane University’s Newcomb College Institute.