The Right Women
Republican Party Activists, Candidates, and Legislators
by Malliga Och and Shauna L. Shames, Editors
January 2018, 287pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5162-9
$55, £43, 48€, A76
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5163-6
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Democrats now have three times as many women in office as the GOP. What are the barriers to Republican women’s advancement, both within the party and beyond?

A powerful exploration of the role of women in the Republican Party that enhances readers' understanding of gender representation in the GOP and suggests solutions to address the partisan gender gap.

Why is the Republican Party dominated by men to a far greater extent than its primary rival? With literature on conservative women in the United States still in its infancy, this book fills an important gap. It does so by examining Republican women as distinct from their male Republican and Democratic female counterparts and also by exploring the shifting role of Republican women in their party and in politics overall. The book brings those subjects together in one volume that will provide fascinating reading to students, scholars, and anyone else interested in U.S. politics.

The analysis is presented in four parts, beginning with a look at the role of women as voters and activists in the GOP. The second section explores the process of candidate emergence, tackling the question as to why so few women run as Republicans and why those who do are less successful than their Democratic female and Republican male counterparts. In the third part, the contributors shed light on Republican women in Congress and state legislatures and their behavior as lawmakers. The final section assesses the outcome of the 2016 election for Republican women in general and, specifically, for Carly Fiorina, the only female candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Each section of the book concludes with a short “guide to action” that takes the insights set forth and applies them to suggest ways to promote a greater involvement of women in the Republican Party.


  • Analyzes the role of women in the Republican Party, something that must be understood if America is to achieve equal representation of women in the U.S. Congress and state governments
  • Fills an important gap in knowledge regarding the presence and impact of women in the Republican Party
  • Suggests ways members of the Republican Party can remedy the underrepresentation of women in their ranks
  • Brings together chapters contributed by leading experts in the field of women and politics
Malliga Och, PhD, is assistant professor of international studies at Idaho State University, Pocatello, and the former research director at Political Parity (Hunt Alternatives) in Cambridge, MA.

Shauna L. Shames, PhD, is assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University, Camden, NJ. She is the author of Out of the Running: Why Millennials Reject Political Careers and Why it Matters. Shames has worked with Political Parity, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and other groups for more than 15 years to advance women's political representation.


“The United States ranks lower than at least 100 other nations in electing women to national legislative office. To achieve political parity in the United States, we need to raise up women from both political parties. Kudos to Och and Shames for assembling this strong, timely analysis of the current state of play for Republican women candidates, and the many challenges they face.”—Swanee Hunt, Founder and Chair, Political Parity

"This is a very valuable resource for anyone interested in the relationship of women in American politics to the Republican Party, both historically but also in today's electoral environment. It will be of great interest to students, scholars, and practitioners. The collection brings together the best scholars analyzing women in the Republican Party specifically and women in conservative parties more generally. It deals with very salient topics and employs myriad approaches to answer its key questions dealing with barriers to and opportunities for women’s inclusion on the 'right' side of the aisle. If we say we want more women in politics, we should not limit them to only half of the political spectrum."—Farida Jalalzai, Hannah Atkins Endowed Chair and Professor of Political Science at Oklahoma State University

"Since Republican women consistently are on the lowest rung on the gender-gap ladder in American politics, this book is a mandatory read for anyone seeking more of them elected. Let’s do ourselves and America a favor—let’s read this, and let’s encourage more women to run."—Sarah Lenti, Former Republican Strategist and Mentee/Aide to Condoleezza Rice

“If the Republican Party wants to be relevant in the 21st century, it has to appeal to more women voters. Despite having once been the party that saw more women run for office than its counterpart and having enjoyed more female support at the polls, the GOP has been steadily losing its edge with women. This work, a compilation of studies on how this happened and what the party can do, should be read by everyone who wants to see Republicans broaden their appeal. The world might not be perfect if run by women, but it would surely be different!”—Christine Todd Whitman, Former Governor of New Jersey

The Right Women comes out at the right time on the right subject. It motivates us to work to ‘level the playing field’ for Republican women candidates. Their voices need to be heard.”—Connie Morella, Former Congresswoman (R-MD), U.S. Ambassador (Ret.)

"The Republican Party must recruit and welcome more women into its ranks. This book is a must-read for party officials, activists, and academics who study women’s participation in politics and seek to better serve and support conservative women interested in running for office."—Kerry Healey, 70th Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
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