Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type



Political Science

Director of Thesis

Katelyn Stauffer

First Reader

Jessica Schoenherr

Second Reader

Jessica Schoenherr


Women in the United States remain underrepresented in politics, both in the legislature and the judiciary. As the court of last resort in each state, state supreme courts serve as important judicial policymakers, and women should be involved in their decision-making processes. This study examines the impact of a judicial candidate’s gender on electoral success and competitiveness to determine if voters hold biases against women fueled by gender stereotypes. I test my theory using general election data from the 15 states that held nonpartisan state supreme court elections from 2000 to 2020. The influence of candidate sex is assessed using models of multiple logistic regression. My results show no electoral disadvantage experienced by female judicial candidates in nonpartisan state supreme court elections. These findings suggest an absence of voter bias against women in judicial elections but cannot reject the possibility that women face electoral barriers prior to the general election or bias once on the bench.

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© 2023, Emma Dickson