Abstract and Keywords
Examining the progress of women in southern politics is important, not in spite of women's more limited presence, but because of it. As many scholars have noted, compared to other parts of the country, the South and its politics are different and these differences carry over to women's experiences in the political arena. Therefore understanding how gender impacts political life in the South is critical for understanding the distinctive politics of this region. In addition, because women's political progress has been delayed in the South, examining regional patterns of women in political office can help illuminate the forces that inhibit and enhance women's representation more generally. Comparing women's success in securing different levels of office in southern and nonsouthern states as well as among southern states will serve to illustrate the importance of state politics and institutions for the representation of women in public office.
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