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Political Ambition: Why Men Have it and Women Don’t

Former Press Secretaries Myers, Perino discuss women in politics at American University

WHO: Jennifer Lawless, author of It Still Take a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office and director of American University’s Women & Politics Institute

Dee Dee Myers, political analyst and commentator; White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton

Dana Perino, political analyst and commentator; White House press secretary for President George W. Bush 

Shira Toeplitz, politics and campaign reporter, Politico

WHAT: Lawless, Myers, and Perino will discuss Lawless’ new book It Still Take a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office, women in politics and how women candidates faired in the 2010 midterm elections.

WHEN:  Monday, November 29, 2010--Book signing at 5:15 pm; panel discussion at 6pm

WHERE: Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center; American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016

DETAILS: Interested media contact Maralee Csellar, American University’s Communications Office, at 202-885-5952 or

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 23, 2010)—Three leading experts on women in politics, American University Women and Politics Institute Director Jennifer Lawless along with former White House Press Secretaries Dee Dee Myers and Dana Perino, will exchange ideas about female participation in politics and discuss the outcomes of the 2010 midterm elections, including female candidates, issues that matter to women voters, and the role of gender on the 2010 campaign trail at American University’s Katzen Arts Center Abramson Family Recital Hall at 5:15 pm on Monday, November 29.

Lawless, Myers, and Perino will also discuss Lawless’s new book, It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office in an event moderated by Shira Toeplitz, a Politico politics and campaign reporter. The book explains why women are less likely than men to express a willingness to run for office in the future, to be recruited to run for office, and to think they are qualified to run for office.

“Despite the famous faces of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Nancy Pelosi, the fact remains that men dominate U.S. political institutions. We still have a lot of catching up to do if we want to achieve gender equality for women in politics because women still remain severely under-represented in our political institutions,” said Lawless, who ran for Congress in 2006.

Lawless is an associate professor of government at American University and the director of American University’s Women and Politics Institute. As director of the institute, she is dedicated to closing the gender gap in political leadership, investigating the role women play in politics, and tracking female political evolution (or lack thereof) over the past fifty years. Her teaching and research focus on gender politics, electoral politics, and public opinion

Myers is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. She authored Why Women Should Rule the World, a commentary about how women would run the world if given the opportunity. Myers served as White House Press Secretary during President Clinton's first term; the first woman and one of the youngest people to hold the job.

Perino is a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Perino is also the founder of “Minute Mentoring”, an organization focused on giving professional guidance to young women starting their careers. Perino was the first Republican woman to serve as the White House Press Secretary.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.