Christina Wolbrecht, Ph.D.
University of Notre Dame
Christina Wolbrecht is professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame. Her areas of expertise include American politics, women and gender, women's suffrage, political parties, and American political development. Much of Wolbrecht's current work focuses on women voters since suffrage. Wolbrecht is the co-author (with J. Kevin Corder) of the forthcoming book, A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage, which describes and explains how women have voted since the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920 and is intended for scholars, journalists, and students. She also is the author of Counting Women's Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage Through the New Deal (with Corder, Cambridge 2016) and of The Politics of Women's Rights: Explaining Party Change (Princeton 2000), as well as other articles, book chapters, and edited volumes on women as political roles models, women and representation, party position-taking, and democratic inclusion. Wolbrecht and Susan Franceschet are the co-editors of the journal Politics & Gender (2019-2022).
Political Parties and Interest Groups
Gender and Politics
American Political Parties
Women And Politics
Gender And Politics
Women Role Models
Countries of Interest
We examine whether the unprecedented 2016 presidential election led to political disillusionment among young people, whether that disillusionment led to a withdrawal from politics or an intention to be more politically active, and if those effects vary by gender and partisan identity. Using a nationally-representative panel study of adolescents and their parents, we find that Democratic girls became more pessimistic about the responsiveness of the American political system in the wake of 2016. Democratic girls in general became substantially more interested in engaging in political protest after 2016, especially Democratic girls who became disillusioned with American politics. In addition, having a parent who became more likely to engage in protest after 2016 also encouraged more interest in protest among adolescents. We view these outcomes as evidence of the gendered character of the 2016 election (including the first woman nominee and the sexist language and behavior of her opponent) and the impact of activists in girls’ communities and families who served as role models for responding to the current political moment.
Do female politicians serve as political role models? This paper is the first to employ panel data to examine whether the presence of non-presidential female candidates leads to an increased propensity for political engagement – specifically, discussion – among women. We hypothesize that younger people who are still learning and establishing political engagement habits will become more politically engaged when exposed to female role models. We do not find evidence of a role model effect overall or among co-partisans. We do find that younger women become significantly more likely to discuss politics when they experience a viable and new female candidate. Importantly, we only find this effect when the female candidate is not a current office holder, suggesting the novelty of female candidates may be key. We do not find a similar effect among older women.
In recent years, the American political parties have shifted their positions on elementary and secondary education policy, both relative to each other and to their own past positions. Established explanations for party issue position-taking privilege the influence of groups in the parties’ coalitions; yet in this case, both parties have taken positions opposed by important components of their bases. We develop a general framework for understanding party issue position adoption and change that highlights the role of issue definition—the considerations, values, and goals associated with a policy debate at any one time. This framework helps us to explain the participation and preferences of groups regarding an issue; the perceived ideological fit and strategic benefits of issue positions for parties; and how parties negotiate and manage issue conflict within their coalition. We apply that framework to the case of education policy, showing how education issue definition has changed over time—from a focus on resources and equality to an emphasis on values and excellence—and how those changes have been consequential for each party’s changing, and converging, positions on education policy. We conclude by discussing the potential application of our model of party issue positioning to other issues in American politics.
One argument advanced in favor of descriptive representation is that female politicians serve as role models, inspiring other women to political activity. While previous research finds female role models affect women's psychological engagement, few studies report an impact on women's active participation, and none have done so in cross-national research. Our work also is the first to consider whether the impact of female role models is, as the term implies, greater among the young. Using three cross-national datasets, we find that where there are more female members of parliament (MPs), adolescent girls are more likely to discuss politics with friends and to intend to participate in politics as adults, and adult women are more likely to discuss and participate in politics. The presence of female MPs registers the same effect on political discussion regardless of age, but the impact on women's political activity is far greater among the young than the old.
Does the presence of female political role models inspire interest in political activism among young women? We find that over time, the more that women politicians are made visible by national news coverage, the more likely adolescent girls are to indicate an intention to be politically active. Similarly, in cross-sectional analysis, we find that where female candidates are visible due to viable campaigns for high-profile offices girls report increased anticipated political involvement. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this effect does not appear to be mediated through beliefs about the appropriateness of politics for women, nor through perceptions of government responsiveness. Instead, an increased propensity for political discussion, particularly within families, appears to explain the role model effect.
How have American women voted in the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment? How have popular understandings of women as voters both persisted and changed over time? In A Century of Votes for Women, Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder offer an unprecedented account of women voters in American politics over the last ten decades. Bringing together new and existing data, the book provides unique insight into women's (and men's) voting behavior and traces how women's turnout and vote choice evolved across a century of enormous transformation overall and for women in particular. Wolbrecht and Corder show that there is no such thing as 'the woman voter'; instead they reveal considerable variation in how different groups of women voted in response to changing political, social, and economic realities. The book also demonstrates how assumptions about women as voters influenced politicians, the press, and scholars.
Corder and Wolbrecht use new data and novel methods to provide insight into whether, how, and with what consequences women cast their ballots in the first five presidential elections following suffrage.
The Politics of Women's Rights examines and explains the major American parties’ evolving positions on women’s rights issues in the postwar period.
Types of Cookies we use
This site employs two first-party cookies (served from us and by us that are essential for the site to operate) and two third-party cookies that deliver external services.
We use a server-generated session cookie to remember you when you are logged in to the site. This is essential to making sure that your profile details are those that are updated when you log in to make changes. This also lets us know who is logging into the site and when.
This site also uses a cookie that is created by your browser to remember when you agree to the cookie notice popup. This cookie stores nothing but the word "true" if you have agreed to the terms and is deleted when you close your browser. This cookie's only function is to prevent the cookie notice from popping up every time you refresh the site's homepage.
How to Disable Cookies Altogether
Information on how to disable cookies in your browser can be found here. Please keep in mind that disabling cookies will prevent the essential functions of most interactive websites and web applications, this site included.
This privacy notice discloses the privacy practices for (womenalsoknowstuff.com). This privacy notice applies solely to information collected by this website. It will notify you of the following:
Information Collection, Use, and Sharing
If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice, or need to contact us, we can be reached at .
Terms and Conditions
Last updated: August 04, 2019
Please read these Terms and Conditions ("Terms", "Terms and Conditions") carefully before using the http://womenalsoknowstuff.com website (the "Service") operated by Women Also Know Stuff ("us", "we", or "our"). Your access to and use of the Service is conditioned upon your acceptance of and compliance with these Terms. These Terms apply to all visitors, users and others who wish to access or use the Service. By accessing or using the Service you agree to be bound by these Terms. If you disagree with any part of the terms then you do not have permission to access the Service.
Our Service allows you to post, link, store, share and otherwise make available certain information, text, graphics, videos, or other material ("Content"). You are responsible for the Content that you post on or through the Service, including its legality, reliability, and appropriateness. By posting Content on or through the Service, You represent and warrant that: (i) the Content is yours (you own it) and/or you have the right to use it and the right to grant us the rights and license as provided in these Terms, and (ii) that the posting of your Content on or through the Service does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person or entity. We reserve the right to terminate the account of anyone found to be infringing on a copyright. You retain any and all of your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Service and you are responsible for protecting those rights. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for Content you or any third party posts on or through the Service. However, by posting Content using the Service you grant us the right and license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content on and through the Service. You agree that this license includes the right for us to make your Content available to other users of the Service, who may also use your Content subject to these Terms. Women Also Know Stuff has the right but not the obligation to monitor and edit all Content provided by users. In addition, Content found on or through this Service are the property of Women Also Know Stuff or used with permission. You may not distribute, modify, transmit, reuse, download, repost, copy, or use said Content, whether in whole or in part, for commercial purposes or for personal gain, without express advance written permission from us.
When you create an account with us, you guarantee that you are above the age of 18, are a woman in the academic field of Political Science, and that the information you provide us is accurate, complete, and current at all times. Inaccurate, incomplete, or obsolete information may result in the immediate termination of your account on the Service. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password, including but not limited to the restriction of access to your computer and/or account. You agree to accept responsibility for any and all activities or actions that occur under your account and/or password, whether your password is with our Service or a third-party service. You must notify us immediately upon becoming aware of any breach of security or unauthorized use of your account.
The Service and its original content (excluding Content provided by users), features and functionality are and will remain the exclusive property of Women Also Know Stuff and its licensors. The Service is protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of both the United States and foreign countries. Our trademarks and trade dress may not be used in connection with any product or service without the prior written consent of Women Also Know Stuff. Links To Other Web Sites Our Service may contain links to third party web sites or services that are not owned or controlled by Women Also Know Stuff Women Also Know Stuff has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third party web sites or services. We do not warrant the offerings of any of these entities/individuals or their websites. You acknowledge and agree that Women Also Know Stuff shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on or through any such third party web sites or services. We strongly advise you to read the terms and conditions and privacy policies of any third party web sites or services that you visit.
We may terminate or suspend your account and bar access to the Service immediately, without prior notice or liability, under our sole discretion, for any reason whatsoever and without limitation, including but not limited to a breach of the Terms. If you wish to terminate your account, you may simply discontinue using the Service, or notify us that you wish to delete your account. All provisions of the Terms which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.
You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Women Also Know Stuff and its licensee and licensors, and their employees, contractors, agents, officers and directors, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees), resulting from or arising out of a) your use and access of the Service, by you or any person using your account and password; b) a breach of these Terms, or c) Content posted on the Service.
Limitation Of Liability
In no event shall Women Also Know Stuff, nor its directors, employees, partners, agents, suppliers, or affiliates, be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages, including without limitation, loss of profits, data, use, goodwill, or other intangible losses, resulting from (i) your access to or use of or inability to access or use the Service; (ii) any conduct or content of any third party on the Service; (iii) any content obtained from the Service; and (iv) unauthorized access, use or alteration of your transmissions or content, whether based on warranty, contract, tort (including negligence) or any other legal theory, whether or not we have been informed of the possibility of such damage, and even if a remedy set forth herein is found to have failed of its essential purpose.
Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The Service is provided on an "AS IS" and "AS AVAILABLE" basis. The Service is provided without warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement or course of performance. Women Also Know Stuff, its subsidiaries, affiliates, and its licensors do not warrant that a) the Service will function uninterrupted, secure or available at any particular time or location; b) any errors or defects will be corrected; c) the Service is free of viruses or other harmful components; or d) the results of using the Service will meet your requirements.
Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain warranties or the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, so the limitations above may not apply to you.
These Terms shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of Arizona and the United States, without regard to its conflict of law provisions. Our failure to enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not be considered a waiver of those rights. If any provision of these Terms is held to be invalid or unenforceable by a court, the remaining provisions of these Terms will remain in effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between us regarding our Service, and supersede and replace any prior agreements we might have had between us regarding the Service.
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time. If a revision is material we will provide at least 30 days notice prior to any new terms taking effect. What constitutes a material change will be determined at our sole discretion. By continuing to access or use our Service after any revisions become effective, you agree to be bound by the revised terms. If you do not agree to the new terms, you are no longer authorized to use the Service.
If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us at .