On the other hand there have been several recent researches, which proved that the problem of women underrepresentation may lie not only by the imperfect political opportunity structure. Citizen Political Ambition Study made a research of over 3,800 “potential candidates” find out that even highly professional women may be less successful in their political careers mainly due to the fact that they do not demonstrate as much ambition as men (Lawless and Fox, 2005).
This study also showed that women less often run for office, they underestimate their ability and qualification to run for office and therefore they are even less willing to run for it (Lawless & Pearson, 2006). One of the best researches of women participation in politics was provided by Gaddie and Bullock (2000) and Matland and King (2002), who focused on women participation in congressional primaries. However, these studies are also can not be a perfect basis for our research as they mainly focus on the open seat pursue in the selected cycles.
Research made by Gaddie and Bullock presents the study of success of women in 230 open seats starting from 1982 up to 1992. During these races women constituted only 12. 7 % of all candidates – only 191 of 1,502, women won 13 % of open seat primaries or 61 nominations (Gaddie & Bullock, 2000). The other research conducted by Matland and King is valuable due to the data on the open seat primary races from 1990 to 2000. The researchers found out that Democratic women received 68 of the 127 open seat primaries, while Republican women got 30 out of the 80 open seat primaries (Matland & King, 2002).
In spite of the fact that these researches really provide us with the valuable facts about the women performance on the political arena, still they not perfect. It is obvious that in order to make a valid conclusion, we have to investigate not only open seat contest but all races during a long period of time. I found one more survey of the female participation in politics to be very valuable for my research. This was the research conducted by Larry Velvel. The findings of the research were published in his paper “Women, Sexual Politics and the American Dream”.
This is an extremely valuable paper, dwelling on the relations between gender, political performance and the expectations of the society. Larry Velvel states that the American dream, which is so deeply entrenched in the minds of the American people and which implies that everyone can attain a pinnacle of success nation provided he works hard, is no more than “a fraud”. According to the researcher, this is particularly vivid in the situation of the political careers of women in the USA. He states that:
“Today, however, there is one very large group of people who are beginning to understand that the American Dream is usually not true for them. They are just over half the population. They are women. They do not put the problem afflicting them in terms of the failure of, or in even terms of the phrase, the American Dream. They put it in other terms, terms more familiar, perhaps, to the modern ear. They write and speak of glass ceilings. They write and speak of being paid less for equal work.
They write and speak of the fact that women sometimes vastly outnumber men in higher education and as recipients of degrees, yet do not rise to the top of corporations or law firms. They write and speak of having their intelligence and competence automatically discounted. (Persons who have changed genders tell remarkable stories about this. ) They write and speak of having been told when younger that they could have it all, only to find that this is not true because institutions do not make arrangements, do not follow rules, that would permit them to be mothers while pushing to be rising stars.
No, they don't write or speak the words “the American Dream” or “frustration of the American Dream”, but what they write and speak of is exactly that although expressed in different words. Far from the world being a place where they can advance as high as talent and hard work can take one, they are usually confined, with the confining factor in this case not being race or class or religion or ethnicity, but gender” (Velvel, 2006)