Jessica Smith, Ph.D. Candidate

Birkbeck, University of London

Country: United Kingdom (England)

About Me:

I am a doctoral research student at Birkbeck studying the role of gender in political leadership. My research examines media and voter perceptions of political leaders in the British context. Alongside my PhD, I am the Communications Officer for the Political Studies Association’s Early Career Network, which represents the interests of postgraduate students and early career academics within the PSA. Previously, I worked in political communications at Portland Communications. I completed my MRes Politics at Birkbeck College and her BSc in Politics at the University of Bristol.

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

Political Psychology

Specific Areas of Interest

Political Leadership

Gender And Politics

Gender Stereotypes

Political Psychology

News Media

Countries of Interest

United Kingdom


Journal Articles:

(2018) Politics and Parenthood: An Examination of UK Party Leadership Elections, Parliamentary Affairs

As women increasingly campaign for the highest political offices, this original content analysis study examines the extent to which gender and parenthood play a role in political leadership using British political party leadership elections as a case study. Competing hypotheses from the limited literature on politics and parenthood are examined. The article finds that family mentions have varied over time and contrary to some gender literature men’s family was at times of greater interest than women’s. Evidence is found for the politicisation of motherhood and a possible ‘maternal mandate’. In parallel, fatherhood was of increasing interest and the rise of the modern man can be seen. Yet, male candidates appear to have an ‘opt-out clause’ in any politicisation of fatherhood. Further questions about politics and parenthood begged by this article open future research avenues.