Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type



Political Science

Director of Thesis

Laura Woliver

First Reader

Annie Boiter-Jolley


The following paper presents the issues contributing to the lack of female representation in southern states. Throughout the work, the South is defined as the former eleven states of the Confederacy. Using statistical data from reputable centers and government organizations, personal interviews, and incorporating previous national research on women and politics, findings show that women face unique factors when considering to run for office and even winning political office. The South’s social and political culture, state legislature structure, and lack of state recruitment organizations and PACs specifically for female candidates all compound together to strengthen the probability that women in the South will not run for elective office. However, as southern states experience increasing in-migration, leading to a more educated electorate with a higher per capital income, more women may run for and win political office. Encouraging young women to think of politics as a gender-neutral field, especially through the power of role models, is necessary to increase female representation in the South.


© 2014, Jennifer Leaphart