Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


John Mollenkopf

Subject Categories

American Politics


women candidates, political ambition, political recruitment, traditional gender socialization


This thesis examines how the factors that account for underrepresentation of women in American politics play out in New York City. Although women comprise more than a half of the country’s population, and more women than men are registered and turn out to vote, the United States is below average in terms of percentage of women politicians as compared to other countries, and keeps dropping in those ratings. Further, New York City, arguably one of the most diverse and liberal cities in the U.S., has never elected a female mayor, and, in 2017, only about a quarter of the city council members are women, with that share set to drop after the 2017 municipal elections. It is important to shed light on this subject as both descriptive and substantive representation of women is vital in a democratic republic such as the United States. Having more female role models in political leadership has been proven to translate into an increased political engagement for women, and female politicians’ commitment to championing issues such as healthcare, social services, reproductive health, education, etc., cannot be overlooked. This thesis identifies several significant factors that explain low numbers of female politicians such as political party recruitment, family responsibilities, traditional gender socialization, and urban political context of New York City.