Assistant Professor of Political Science Meredith Conroy, was invited to speak at the Andrus Center for Public Policy Conference on Women and Leadership on September 10, 2015. She spoke on the factors contributing to the underrepresentation of women in government. Other speakers at this national conference included prominent business leaders, senior federal and state government officials, military leaders, and other high-profile individuals from a wide variety of disciplines.
Her lecture, entitled "Vote for She," discussed why women are underrepresented in government, why it matters, and what we can do about it. Dr. Conroy also shared the stage with two other women-professor of political science at Boise State, Jaclyn Kettler, and state Senator, Cherie Buckner-Webb. While Dr. Conroy did most of the speaking, after each segment, she asked Dr. Kettler one question that she could respond to citing scholarship, and Senator Buckner-Webb a question that she could respond with examples from her own experiences as an elected official. This format produced a lot of dynamic and relevant content.
Dr. Conroy also focused her talk on the ambition gap as a contributing factor to women's underrepresentation, which shows women are less likely to run for office and other executive positions in government, because they are less likely to see themselves as qualified. This distinction is associated with the socialization of young girls to be more focused on their appearances than young boys. What is more, parents have the tendency to discuss politics less with their daughters than with their sons, and are also less likely to encourage girls to participate in sports-which gives them a taste of competition which can ultimately help those with political ambitions later in life.
Visit the Andrus Center for Public Policy Conference on Women and Leadership for more information.