Women & Politics Institute

The Women & Politics Institute provides practical and academic training that encourages women 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.

Dr. Elisabeth Griffith: Formidable Wednesday, September 28 at 6PM ET

22.9.28 Formidable Twitter

As part of our “Women on Wednesdays” series, please join American University's Women & Politics Institute for a virtual conversation with American University alumna Dr. Elisabeth Griffith, CAS/Ph.D ‘84, author of the book, Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020 and WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin.

In a “sweeping, century-long perspective,” Dr. Griffith chronicles the efforts of white and Black women to advance their sometimes competing causes following the "incomplete victory” of the Nineteenth Amendment. She also explores how women today are still fighting for political power and true equality for all. Hillary Clinton calls Formidable “an essential history of the struggle by both Black and white women to achieve their equal rights." Order the book here 


Academics Fall 2022

The following courses will be offered in Fall 2022 for the Women, Policy and Political Leadership (WPPL) Undergraduate and Graduate Certificate Programs. Use the navigation menu at the left for details on course values, schedules and instructors.

GOVT 482/682.001 Women & Politics
GOVT 485/685.001 America's First Ladies
GOVT 485/685.002 Women, Citizenship, and the ERA
GOVT 485/685.003 Women and Policy
GOVT 485/685.006 Women and the 2022 Elections
GOVT 486/686.001 Feminist Political Theory

Gender on the Ballot The New Normal: Women, the Workplace, and Pandemic Politics

GOTB Research (Twitter Post)-1-min-1

After almost two years of contending with Covid-19, women across the country increasingly believe that the pandemic is creating a new normal, according to an online survey released by Gender on the Ballot, a partnership between the Women & Politics Institute at American University’s School of Public Affairs and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.

The survey reveals that women are economically stressed, struggling with mental health, and concerned about the state of the country, yet they are also galvanized in support of improving healthcare systems, electing women to public office, and seeing the first Black woman Supreme Court justice. Benenson Strategy Group conducted this survey on the opinions and sentiments of women voters, which dovetails with Gender on the Ballot’s polling on similar topics one year ago.

To learn more about this new research, check out our Gender on the Ballot website where you will find key takeaways, memo, and our press release.


Recent Blog Posts

22.9.7 Carlin GOTB

Unelected but Powerful Women WPI faculty member Dr. Diana Carlin discusses how “some of the most powerful women in U.S. politics never appeared on the ballot,” as she highlights ”a few of the ways first ladies impacted presidential politics.”

22.8.26 Griffith

On Account of Sex, and Race AU alumna Dr. Elisabeth Griffith, PhD CAS/1984, discusses the “incomplete victory” of the Nineteenth Amendment, noting that “for decades, white women did not turn out and Black women were turned away, threatened with economic reprisal and physical violence.”

WPI "Women on Wednesdays" Recaps

Check out all event recaps here, or visit our Crowdcast channel here to watch full replays of previous events.

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September 7: Lis Smith, former senior advisor in communications to presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, discussed her new best-selling book Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story, “a rollicking irreverent look behind the scenes of American politics from one of the most sought-after operatives in the Democratic Party." Read more here and watch the full replay here

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April 27: Valerie Biden Owens, discussed her book Growing Up Biden: A Memoir, a compelling account of “breaking through gender barriers, the elusive nature of confidence, and navigating professional responsibilities while raising children.” Watch the full replay here

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April 13: Liuba Grechen Shirley discussed Vote Mama's mission to “break the structural barriers moms face running for office, normalize moms of young children running, and leverage a network of moms in office to advance women-centered, family-friendly legislation.” Watch the full replay here

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March 16: Amanda Hunter and Lindsay Vermeyen presented the findings from our new Gender on the Ballot poll, conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, that explored the issues shaping women voters and their political opinions two years after the start of the pandemic, with WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin. Watch the full replay here

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February 16: Former prosecutor and human rights lawyer Maggy Krell discussed her debut book, Taking Down Backpage: Fighting the World’s Largest Sex Trafficker, a “gripping story of tragedy, overcoming adversity, and the pursuit of justice that gives insight into the fight against sex trafficking in the digital age.” Watch the full replay here

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February 2: Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky discussed the non-profit they co-founded, “Lift Our Voices,” an organization that aims to transform the American workplace and end the silencing of harassment victims through forced arbitration and non-disclosure agreements. Watch the full replay here

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January 19: Former NPR and ABC News correspondent Kati Marton discussed her book, The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel, which details the "remarkable rise and political brilliance of the most powerful—and elusive—woman in the world.” Watch the full replay here

Women on Wednesdays

Upcoming Events

Wed, October 12 at 6pm ET
Electable: Why America Hasn't Put a Woman in the White House . . . Yet
Ali Vitali

Wed, October 26 at 6pm ET
Title IX at 50: Women in Sports

Dr. Bonnie Morris

Wednesday, November 9 at 5pm ET
Women and 2022 - Post-Election Analysis

Amanda Hunter, Christine Matthews, Atima Omara, Mabinty Quarshie

The WeLead Reader

The WeLead Reader is a curated weekend newsletter packed with news and research about women in politics.

If you like to receive the Reader each week, please subscribe below.  Please help us spread the word and share it with interested family and friends.


Upcoming Affilated Events

Friday, October 7 at 6:30pm
Midterm Election Panel

Amy Dacey, Anita Kumar, Jonathan Martin, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Betsy Fischer Martin

Tuesday, October 11 at 12pm ET
Women on Courts

Marjorie Margolies, Tamara Perisin, Iyiloa Solanke, Laure Clement Wilz

Wednesday, October 12 at 9am ET
Women in Power

Pippa Norris, Monica Frassoni, Kate Onyejekwe, Kari Pries, Federiga Bendi, Neera Tanden

Thursday, October 20 at 7pm ET
Helen and Daniel Sonenshine Lecture
Pnina Lahav

View All Events

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 politics.

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WPI Newsletter

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