The Gendered Executive

A Comparative Analysis of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Chief Executives

Edited by Janet M. Martin and MaryAnne Borrelli
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1364-2
Publication: Aug 16

HC: $94.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1363-5
Publication: Aug 16

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1365-9
Publication: Aug 16

296 pages
6 x 9
22 tables, 5 line drawings

Examining national executives through the lens of identity, representation, and power

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


Excluded from the ranks of elite executive decision-makers for generations, women are now exercising power as chiefs of government and chiefs of state. As of April 2016, 112 women in 73 countries have served as presidents or prime ministers.

The Gendered Executive is a critical examination of national executives, focusing on matters of identity, representation, and power. The editors and contributors to this volume address the impact of female executives through political mobilization and participation, policy- and decision-making, and institutional change. Other topics include party nomination processes, the intersectionality of race and gender, and women-centered U.S. foreign policy in southern Africa. In addition, case studies from Chile, India, Portugal, and the United States are presented, as are cross-national comparisons of women leaders in Latin America.

The Gendered Executive will enhance our understanding of the complexity of gender in and comparative analyses of executive politics.

Contributors include: Amy C. Alexander, Sheetal Chhabria, Georgia Duerst-Lahti, Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon, Cory Charles Gooding, Lilly Goren, Karen M. Hult, Farida Jalalzai, Daniela F. Melo, Catherine Reyes-Housholder, Ariella R. Rotramel, Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer, Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson, and the editors


“This collection of uniformly strong essays spans several disciplines with a central focus on gender and executive politics. It disrupts the status quo and challenges scholars to examine questions long neglected in the study of political executives. Approached from a cross-national perspective, The Gendered Executive is likely to have a significant impact on the way scholars study executive politics for years to come.”
Michael A. Genovese, President, World Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University

" The theoretical and methodological premise of The Gendered Executive is innovative and groundbreaking. Not only is the topic itself an interesting take on gender and executive political leadership, but the editors and contributors—recognized experts in their fields—look at how these women achieved their positions. This volume is impressive, well thought-out and researched. It will make an excellent addition to the growing literature on women in executive politics and an important contribution to the expanding literature on women as national-level executive leaders."
Lori Cox Han, Professor of Political Science at Chapman University

" There are very few book-length treatments of gender and chief executive office, and certainly no book that combines a focus on the U.S. presidency with comparative perspectives. What I like the most about The Gendered Executive is the attempt to create a more meaningful dialogue across two literatures that rarely 'speak' to each other: American politics and comparative politics. The editors’ focus on gender, not just women, and the geographic focus, creates a substantive breadth in the volume that is broad and inclusive. As more women are entering the executive branch around the world, The Gendered Executive will become an important source for research."
Susan Franceschet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary

" Martin and Borrelli provide an exceptional collection of 12 analyses of the intersections of gender, sex, and the executive branch. The editors include American and comparative political perspectives, providing a much-needed integration of research on gender and executive leadership. Individual chapters reveal diverse methodological approaches, from individual case quantitative analysis. The text also demonstrates that although the US has not yet had a female president, there remains a rich field for analysis, including vice-presidential candidates...and gendered policy making.... This text is a rich contribution to the fields of gender, sex and politics, and executive politics....Summing Up: Highly recommended."

"Janet M. Martin and MaryAnne Borrelli's excellent volume tackles some of the most interesting and vexing questions about the gendered nature of executive office. Importantly, the editors bring a comparative focus to the American presidency, including chapters on the U.S. executive but also chapters that deal with other single cases, like India and Chile. Other chapters engage in cross-national comparisons. The book's comparative focus means that readers gain insight into global developments that often appear contradictory, with progress in some areas but not others. Taken together, the chapters in the volume constitute an important contribution to knowledge about gender and executives."
—Perspectives on Politics

"The Gendered Executive (is) a timely and theoretically rich volume... concerning issues of gender, sex, and executive leadership in government. Martin and Borrelli bring together some of the most prominent scholars of executive politics, women and politics, and gender and politics in this volume to explore how issues of sex, gender, and identity influence executive politics. What sets this volume apart from other research on this topic is the thorough cross-national and international examination of the symbolic meaning of the chief executive. The individual contributions demonstrate the importance of gender in understanding executive politics not only in the United States but also abroad. Indeed, the comparative and international approach taken by the editors is one of The Gendered Executive 's greatest strengths.... Martin and Borrelli have put together an ambitious volume that is thoroughly engaging, thought-provoking, and finely researched. It will be of great interest to comparativists, chief executive specialists, women and politics scholars, representation scholars, gender and politics scholars, and intersectionality and politics scholars.... It has the honor of being the first comparative analysis of gender and chief executives, and it will serve as a cornerstone of future research on the topic for years to come."
—The Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures

1. Learning What We Know: The Complexity of Gender in U.S. and Comparative Executive Studies • Janet M. Martin  and MaryAnne Borrelli

I Identity and Ambition
2. The Symbolic Effects of Female Heads of State and Government • Amy C. Alexander and Farida Jalalzai
3. President Barack H. Obama and the Rhetoric of Race: Between Responsibility and Respectability • Cory Charles Gooding
4. India’s Prime Minister: Narendra Modi, Gender, and Governance • Sheetal Chhabria
5. Sarah Palin’s and Paul Ryan’s Vice Presidential Acceptance Speeches: Gender and Partisan Appeals to the Republican Party • MaryAnne Borrelli and Lilly J. Goren

II Policy and Representation
6. The Impact of Presidentas on Political Activity • Catherine Reyes-Housholder and Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer
7. U.S. Presidents and LGBT Policy: Leadership, Civil Rights, and Morality Claims, 1977–2015 • Ariella R. Rotramel
8. Representation in and by the White House • Karen M. Hult
9. The European Union, Executive Politics, and the Women’s Movement in Portugal: The Consequences of Europeanization, 1986 to the Present • Daniela F. Melo

III Politics and Power
10. The U.S. Presidency and the Aftermath of Revolution: Are Women’s Rights Human Rights? • Janet M. Martin
11. U.S. Development Policy and Women’s Empowerment: Challenging the Foreign-Policy Bureaucracy to Implement Fully Integ
rated Gender Policy • Georgia Duerst-Lahti 12. Presidential Power, Partisan Continuity, and Pro-Women Change in Chile, 2000–2010 • Catherine Reyes-Housholder
13. “First Women” and “Women’s posts”: Examining the Backgrounds and Credentials of Ministers in Five Presidential Democracies • Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson


About the Author(s)

Janet M. Martin is Professor of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College; author of The Presidency and Women: Promise, Performance, and Illusion and Lessons from the Hill: The Legislative Journey of an Education Program; and co-editor of The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch.

MaryAnne Borrelli is Professor of Government at Connecticut College; author of The Politics of the President’s Wife and The President’s Cabinet: Gender, Power, and Representation; co-author of the fourteenth edition of Understanding American Government; and co-editor of The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch.