Thursday, September 14, 2006

WC Professor's New Book Examines Women's Paths from Local to National Political Power

Chestertown, MD, September 13, 2006 — Are women underrepresented as political elites in the United States? Why has there never been a woman president? Melissa Deckman, associate professor of political science at Washington College, tackles these questions and more in her new book, Women and Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence, just released by Pearson/Prentice Hall. Co-authored with Julie Dolan of Macalester College and Michele Swers of Georgetown University, Women and Politics examines the paths that women have taken to gain political power and public office as well as the challenges that they still face.

The text, written for college-level courses, tells the stories behind not only women as participators in public affairs, but also women as political movers-and-shakers and policy makers at all levels of government—local to national.

"My co-authors and I decided to write this textbook out of frustration with the current texts available for our courses on women in American politics," says Deckman. "Unlike most books that cover women's political history or public policy in great detail, we sought to write a book that had more in-depth coverage of women as political elites and provided a balanced account of both liberal and conservative political women."

Women and Politics takes a broad look at women political leaders in Congress, state legislatures, city councils, and school boards, as federal and state judges, and as appointed officials in the executive branch and as governors, she adds.

"Our book devotes several chapters to areas that are typically neglected in textbooks on women and politics. For example, we write extensively about women at the local level of government—the place where women politicians are most likely to be represented. We also strive to answer common questions about women in American politics, such as why are women in our nation, when compared to women in other industrialized democracies, so underrepresented as political elites?"

Deckman is a graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland and received her Ph.D. in political science from American University in 1999. In addition to broader interests in America's national, state, and local politics, she has specialized in the study of the role of religion and of women in America's political scene. She is the author ofSchool Board Battles: The Christian Right in Local Politics (Georgetown University Press, 2004) and co-author of Women with a Mission: Religion, Gender, and the Politics of Women Clergy(University of Alabama Press, 2004). She has taught at Washington College since 2000.

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