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Women's Political Discourse: A 21<sup>st</sup>-Century Perspective

Women's Political Discourse: A 21st-Century Perspective



Although the United States ranks sixtieth internationally in women's political leadership, in 2004, a record nine women held governorships, sixty women served as House members with an additional three women elected as delegates from Washington, D.C., Guam, and the Virgin Islands, and fourteen women occupied Senate seats. How have these women managed to beat the odds in their successful attempts to enter national politics? How do they fruitfully participate in the political process once they gain entry into the sacred halls of Congress and the state house?

Women's Political Discourse profiles women in the most highly visible political offices today, highlighting their communication strategies. Following an engaging overview of women's political discourse from the early twentieth century, the book features selected women governors, representatives, and senators of the past several decades, from Jeannette Rankin—the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—to Hillary Rodham Clinton. The authors compare women's and men's political communication techniques and include helpful lists of the women governmental leaders of the twentieth and the twenty-first century. Exploring women's unique approaches to governing, Women's Political Discourse seeks to lay out innovative approaches to leadership.

  • A unique look at women's approaches to governing that looks toward innovative strategies for leadership.
  • Examines the communication styles of women formerly or currently in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate or holding U.S. governorships.
  • Looks at how women in politics have blurred the boundaries between public and private spheres and have crafted a discourse that can be called androgynous in nature--what was once deemed "feminine style" has become virtually mainstream, and many "women's issues" are now "the people's issues."
  • Provides historical context for understanding 21st-century women's political discourse.
  • Includes excerpts from and analysis of public speeches by women in elective office.
  • Features women across political parties and from across the United States.
  • Proposes that there is a rhetorical "in-between" space that values both private and public sphere perspectives.



Publication Date



Rowman & Littlefield




American Politics | Communication | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies | Women's History | Women's Studies


Description, cover image, and reviews courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield.

Subject Areas

Women -- Political activity -- United States; Political oratory -- United States

Author/Editor Bio

Molly A. Mayhead is Professor of Communication Studies at Western Oregon University.

Brenda DeVore Marshall is Professor of Theatre and Communication Arts at Linfield College. She holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication and Theatre from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, an M.S. in Theatre and Speech Communication from North Texas State University, and a B.A. in Theatre and Music from the University of Denver.

Series Information

Communication, media, and politics


"This volume extends Mayhead and Marshall's edited volume, Navigating Boundaries: The Rhetoric of Women Governors. Recommended." - Choice

Women's Political Discourse: A 21<sup>st</sup>-Century Perspective