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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.

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power Wednesday, December 8, 8:00 PM ET

Barbara Lee, Abby Ginzberg

As part of our “Women on Wednesdays” series, please join American University's Women & Politics Institute for a virtual conversation moderated by WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin. Joining us will be Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and award-winning filmmaker, Abby Ginzberg, director of the documentary, “Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power” which tells the “complex story of Representative Barbara Lee, a steadfast voice for human rights, peace and equality in the U.S. Congress for over two decades.”

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists calls the documentary “so inspiring” that they “fully expect a future President of the United States to one day say she was motivated to run for office after watching it.” Filmmaker Abby Ginzberg chronicles the career and accomplishments of the California Congresswoman through conversations with her friends and colleagues, including the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), author Alice Walker, and actor Danny Glover, among others. Watch the trailer here  

Registered attendees will receive a link to screen the film in advance of the event.

Details and registration here



The following courses will be offered in Spring 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.

Women and Politics
Women & Political Leadership
Supreme Court & Women's Rights
Introduction to Women & Politics  
Women, Politics and Media

Women in the Legal Profession
Women and the Levers of Influence

Gender on the Ballot

Rebecca DeWolf

The Fight for Women’s Right to Hold Public Office American University alumna Dr. Rebecca DeWolf, CAS/Ph.D ‘14, covers the difficulties that women candidates have faced throughout American history, and the role that the Equal Rights Amendment and the 19th Amendment have had on women running for office.

Research She Votes

New Research: She Votes: Women, the Workplace, and Pandemic Politics: The Covid-19 pandemic has upended women’s lives, highlighted inequities in health care, education and the economy, and underscored the importance of having women in political office.

"Women on Wednesdays" Recaps

DeWolf Rebecca

Nov 17: Dr. Rebecca DeWolf discussed her book, Gendered Citizenship: The Original Conflict over the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920–1963, which grapples with the battle over women’s constitutional status and but also articulates the "boundaries of what it means to be an American citizen.” Watch the full replay here

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Nov 10: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) discussed her book, Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter's Story, a “compelling and moving account of a woman coming into her own power over the course of a lifetime in public service.” Read more here and watch the full replay here

Stephenie Foster (2)

Nov 3: Former State Department advisor Stephenie Foster discussed her book, Take Action: Fighting for Women and Girls, an in depth guide to activism and advocacy for those who want to support women and girls. Read more here and watch the full replay here

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Sept. 29 USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page discussed her book, Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, the “definitive biography of Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in American political history." Read more here and watch the full replay here

Jane Harman and Betsy Fischer Martin

May 19: Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), author of the new book, "Insanity Defense," discussed her role on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the past, present and future of women in national security. Read more here and watch the replay here

Karen Tumulty and Betsy Fischer Martin

May 12Karen Tumulty discussed her new book, The Triumph of Nancy Reagan, the definitive biography of the politically astute First Lady who shaped one of the most consequential presidencies of the 20th century. Read more here and watch the replay here

Robin Bronk and Alysia Reiner

April 21: Robin Bronk and Alysia Reiner discussed the historic role of women on television and their outlook on what the future holds for women’s representation on TV. Read more here and watch the full replay here

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March 31: The Hon. Donna Shalala, Dr. Patrice Harris, and Laurie Rubiner discussed how women are playing major leadership roles in the fight to end the most deadly and debilitating preventable health threat to the nation–tobacco use. Read more here and watch replay here

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March 24: Political reporters and best-selling authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes discuss their new book, Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency, “the inside story of the historic 2020 presidential election and Joe Biden’s harrowing ride to victory. Read more here and watch replay here

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March 17: Katie Connolly, Errin Haines, and Amanda Hunter presented the findings from our new Gender on the Ballot poll of female voters that explored "Women, the Workplace, and Pandemic Politics." Read more here and watch the full replay here

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March 3: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discussed her new book, The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice. She shared her on-the-ground reporting about an extraordinary group of women who took on the Islamic State and won. Read more here and watch the full replay here

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February 24: Former LA Times reporter Dan Morain discussed his new biography of Kamala Harris, Kamala’s Way: An American Life, which charts “how the daughter of two immigrants in segregated California became one of this country’s most effective power players.” Read More and watch replay here

Reclaiming Her Time 2021.2.17

February 17: Washington Post reporter Helena Andrews-Dyer, co-author of the new book, Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters, discussed the life, wisdom, wit, legacy, and fearless style of the iconic American Congresswoman. Read more and watch the full replay here

Kaplan Manning Post Event

February 3: Newly-elected Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) and her daughter Jenny Kaplan, CEO of Wonder Media Network, discussed the historic role women have played in the House and share their outlook on what the future holds for women in the 117th Congress. Read more and watch replay here

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January 27: CNN White House Correspondent MJ Lee discussed the notable and historic women tapped by the Biden-Harris administration with WPI's Betsy Fischer Martin. Check out our Gender on the Ballot Biden Administration Tracker here, read more here, watch the full replay here

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November 11: The 19th’s CEO and Founder, Emily Ramshaw and Washington Correspondent Amanda Becker shared their analysis and reporting on the 2020 results with WPI's Betsy Fischer Martin. Read here and watch the full replay here

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October 28: Film director Cheryl Jacobs Crim, and activists Joanna Lohman, Mimi Hassanein, and Margaret Morrison discussed their film Resisterhood and the “power of women, hope and resistance in modern American politics.” Read more and watch the full replay here

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October 21: AU alum Julie Conway, Exec. Director of VIEW PAC and Rebecca Schuller, Advisor and Board Member of Winning for Women discussed their 2020 outlook and their efforts to support and elect GOP women. Read more and watch the full replay here

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October 14: Exec. VP Nancy LeaMond of the AARP, Exec. Dir. Sara Guillermo of IGNITE, and AU alum Dr. Melissa Deckman of Washington College discussed the politics and priorities of women across generations. Read more and watch the full replay here

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October 8: Former CNN Anchor & Presidential Debate Moderator Candy Crowley, Political Strategist Karen Finney, and MSNBC/NBC Correspondent Kasie Hunt analyzed the vice presidential debate of 2020, with a particular focus on Kamala Harris. Read more and watch the full replay here

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September 30: EMILY’s List’s President, Stephanie Schriock and VP of Communications, Christina Reynolds, co-authors of Run to Win, discussed “lessons for any woman trying to succeed in a male-dominated field." Read more and watch full replay here

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September 23: Former House Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) discussed her book,She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality, chronicling her experience with “misogyny and double standards." Read more and watch the full replay here

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September 16: Kristin Kim Bart, Senior Dir. for Gender Equality at International Rescue Committee, discussed When Returning to Normal Doesn’t Work for Half the World’s Population and building back better. Read more and watch the replay here

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September 9: Award-winning journalists Lynn Sherr and Ellen Goodman, co-hosts of the She Votes! Our Battle for the Ballot podcast, discussed the complex history of the women’s suffrage movement. Read more and watch the full replay here

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September 2: Dr. Martha S. Jones of Johns Hopkins University discussed her book, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, “the epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power." Read more and watch the full replay here

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August 26: Dr. Stacie Taranto and Dr. Leandra Zarnow, co-editors of Suffrage at 100: Women in American Politics Since 1920, discussed 100 years of women's engagement in politics. Read their Gender on the Ballot post and watch replay here

Jayapal Post Event

August 5: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), author of Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change, reflected on her journey as an immigrant woman of color to the corridors of power. Read more and watch the full replay here

Palmieri Post Event

July 29: AU Alumna Jennifer Palmieri, former Communications Director for President Obama and author of, She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man's World, shared key lessons from her journey to success. Read more Watch replay here

Nikki Haley

July 15: Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, author of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller, With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace. Read more and watch the full replay here

Bustos and Guinn

July 8: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Executive Director Lucinda Guinn. Read more
Watch the replay on C-SPAN here and Bloomberg News coverage here
Watch the conversation here

Wednesdays Sanders

June 24: Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor to the 2020 Biden For President Campaign and author of, No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth to Power and Reclaiming America, in conversation with WPI's Betsy Fischer Martin. Read more and watch the full replay here

Ernst post event

June 17: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), author of the newly published memoir, Daughter of the Heartland: My Ode to the Country That Raised Me, in virtual conversation with WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin. Read more and watch the full replay here

Wednesdays Marshall

June 10: Ambassador Capricia Marshall, former Chief of Protocol of the U.S. and author of the book, Protocol: The Power of Diplomacy and How to Make It Work for You. Read more and watch the full replay here

Election Watch

June 3: The National Republican Congressional Committee's Recruitment Chair, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), and Executive Director Parker Hamilton Poling, in virtual conversation with WPI's Betsy Fischer Martin. Read more and watch the full replay here

Wednesdays Munoz

May 27: Cecilia Muñoz, author of the just-published book, More than Ready: Be Strong and Be You....and Other Lessons for Women of Color on the Rise, in conversation with WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin. Read more and watch the full replay here

WoW Jarrett Post

May 20: Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama and author of the New York Times bestseller, Finding My Voice: When The Perfect Plan Crumbles, The Adventure Begins. Read more and watch replay here

WOW Molly Ball BFM

MAY 13: Kicking off WPI’s “Women on Wednesdays” series, WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin spoke with award-winning political journalist Molly Ball, author of Pelosi. Read more
Watch the full replay here

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Announcement ·

She Votes: Women, the Workplace, and Pandemic Politics

New survey of women voters shows that Covid-19 has widely shifted perceptions of American politics, work norms, and gender roles.
Full Story

Panel at virtual book talk event

Government & Politics ·

Wave of Women Elected Shatters What It Looks Like to Serve in Congress

On April 14th the SPA Women & Politics Institute sponsored a virtual book talk on women in congress.
Full Story

Female ambassadors at International Women's Day event

On Campus ·

Female Ambassadors Share Stories on International Women’s Day

Female ambassadors to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Iceland, Oman and Rwanda spoke on campus at a panel moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin, executive director of the American University School of Public Affairs’ Women and Politics March 4.
Full Story

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