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Women & Politics Institute

The Women & Politics Institute provides practical and academic training to women that encourages them to become involved in the political process and facilitates research by faculty and students that enhances our understanding of the challenges and opportunities women face in the political arena.

2020.1.22 New Research

Women of all ages and political affiliations — particularly millennials and women of color—have become more politically engaged since 2016, a trend that is likely to continue in the 2020 cycle.

Our new Gender on the Ballot research gives further insights into what motivates women and how they plan to participate this year.

Read the memo here the press release here, and Axios coverage here.

Stepping Up and Standing Out: Women’s Political Participation in 2020 Wednesday, January 22 | 5 PM

Flyer with panelists for panel discussion

Join the Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation for a panel discussion on women's political participation in 2020.  We will present the findings from our new Gender on the Ballot poll of likely voters and learn more about what's driving women voters to step up and stand out in the political process.

Panelists Include:

Kate Jeffers, Associate, Benenson Strategy Group
Amanda Hunter, Research and Communications Director, Barbara Lee Family Foundation
Alexis McCammond, Politics Reporter, Axios
Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director, Women & Politics Institute (Moderator)

American University Main Campus, Kerwin Hall, Room 301

Register Here

Event Recaps

Ali Lapp, China Dickerson, Liesl Hickey, and Betsy Fischer Martin

WeLead Training Session

November 16: The session began with long-time fundraiser and founder of The LS Group Lisa Spies, emphasizing curiosity and generosity over a more transactional approach, followed by panelists Liesl HickeyAli LappChina Dickerson and Betsy Fischer Martin who explained PACs, SuperPACS and Independent Expenditures. 
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Knock Down the House Panelists

Knock Down the House

October 30: A riveting documentary which chronicles the endeavors of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin ... Read More

She Persisted Panliests


October 15: In collaboration with the Women in Public Service Project, WPI hosted a discussion on the intersection of women, politics, and the world of new media. Read More

News Stories

Woman engaged and talking at event.

On Campus ·

Daring to Make a Difference: Strategists Talk Women in Politics

Donna Brazile, Minyon Moore, and Yolanda Caraway discuss their book at WPI event.
Full Story

Event panelists

On Campus ·

Gender on the Ballot: The Electability Question in 2020

The Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation co-hosted a panel discussion on campus to shed light on what the much-discussed concept of “electability” actually means to voters in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.
Full Story

Rep. Lauren Underwood at WeLead Graduation Ceremony

Achievements ·

Rep. Underwood Addresses Graduating Women of WeLead Program

This week, American University School of Public Affairs' Women & Politics Institute held its annual WeLead program graduation at the D.C. Office of  MacAndrews & Forbes.
Full Story

Save the Date

  • March 4: International Women's Day Celebration with Female Ambassadors to the U.S.
  • March 23: Suffrage Centennial Book Talk: And Yet they Persisted: How American Women Won the Right to Vote
  • April 9: Book Talk: The Firsts: The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress
Woman putting her fist in the air

The Political Power of Women of Color

January 16, 2020

In her latest Gender on the Ballot blog post, WPI Instructor Shilpa Phadke cites research that there are "13.5 more citizen voting age women of color than there were in 2000."  

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Gender on the Debate Stage: January Numbers

January 15, 2020

Betsy Fischer Martin has the numbers from the January Democratic debate in her newest Gender on the Ballot blog post, including that Senator Warren has the most speaking time of any candidates at 18 minutes and 52 seconds.  


Read More

WeLead Reader

A curated newsletter, delivered to inboxes on Saturday mornings, readers can catch up on a week’s worth of important new developments about women running for office, serving as leaders and engaging in the political arena.

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Gender on the Ballot Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all the latest news + gender analysis in election 2020.

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WPI Newsletter

Sign up for the WPI Newsletter to view recent highlights and learn about upcoming opportunities and events.

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