Higher Education

While women have made enormous strides in higher education, progress has been uneven. Women now receive a majority of undergraduate degrees but disparities remain, particularly at graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels. Colleges and universities still reflect inequities based on race, ability, geography and income. And more efforts must focus on advancing women and women of color into tenured and leadership positions with institutions of higher learning. There is growing concern about the rising cost of higher education and how to improve quality and access. The financial crisis of 2008-09 has shrunk many endowment funds and reduced the number of scholarships available as well as making state and community colleges more competitive and less accessible. The effects of corporatization on college campuses are also a source of concern for the quality and independence of scholarship, including for women’s studies and other inter-disciplinary programs.

American University

The Women & Politics Institute advances the study and discussion of women and politics, promotes opportunities for women in politics, and trains young women to become political leaders. The Institute offers Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership (WPPL) that provide students with the opportunity to take courses taught by nationally recognized experts within their fields, to work in career building internships with women’s organizations and in the offices of women members of Congress, and to attend leadership workshops and lectures featuring distinguished women leaders.

Featured Events

Employment Opportunities

Projects & Campaigns

  • Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates in Women, Policy and Political Leadership (WPPL) – This 15-credit hour program provides students with the information and skills they need to be involved in issues in women and politics. The program combines traditional courses that provide students with the theoretical and methodological foundation in the study of women and politics in addition to interactive weekend seminars that feature leading experts in the field working on women’s issues.
  • Campaign College: AU Women to Win is the first program in the nation to train college women to run for elected office and to participate in student government on their campus. Campaign College provides students with the necessary skills to be involved in campus politics and hopes to inspire future women candidates for local, state, and national office.
  • WeLEAD: Women bringing women to the power center. Run by the Institute’s Young Women Leaders Board, WeLEAD is the only training in the country that specifically works to increase the number of women working in political professions such as congressional and administrative staffing, campaign consulting, and lobbying, as well as encourages young women to run for office. The Young Women Leaders Board is a bipartisan group of women in their late twenties and early thirties who work in politics and actively mentor the participants in the program.
  • Women As Leaders – Women as Leaders programs provide delegations of international women elected officials, political activists, business leaders, and judges with the opportunity to meet their U.S. counterparts for cross cultural exchanges. Trainings with women judges have included meetings with U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Other delegations have met with several women members of Congress. These meetings have fostered strategic international cooperation and a better understanding of issues that face women globally.


Reports & Resources

  • O’Connor, Karen, Sarah E. Brewer, and Michael Philip Fisher. 2006. Gendering American Politics: Perspectives from the Literature. New York: Longman.
  • McGlen, Nancy, Karen O’Connor, Laura van Assendelft and Wendy Gunther Canada. 2004. Women, Politics, and American Society. 4 th Edition. New York: Longman.
  • O’Connor, Karen and Larry Sabato. 2008. American Government: Continuity and Change. 8 th Edition. New York: Longman.
  • O’Connor, Karen. Editor. 2005. Women and Congress: Running, Winning, and Ruling. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.
  • Brewer, Sarah E. Editor. 2007. Women and Political Leadership Monograph: Perspectives from Men and Women in Politics. Washington, D.C.: Women & Politics Institute.



Center News

Women Leaders Across Sectors on Social Justice and Change

March 3, 2009 posted by Deborah Siegel I’m sitting in a very crowded auditorium at 3 World Financial Center, home of American Express, and the sun is pouring in on one of the coldest days of the year. We’re about to be warmed by the annual panel that takes place the afternoon of the National Council for Research on Women’s evening-time gala, the Making a Difference for Women Awards. This year’s panel, “An Immodest Proposal: Advancing a New Era of Social Justice” (kudos on the title, NCRW!) features Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center Marcia Greenberger, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University Nancy Cantor, Accenture / Microsoft / PepsiCo Director Dina Dublon, and Columbia University law professor and Nation columnist Patricia Williams. The Takeaway co-host Adaora Udoji, whose voice I wake up to each morning, will be moderating. There is nothing modest about this crowd of female movers and shakers from corporate, academic, and nonprofit spheres. The NCRW staff—of which I used to be part—has clearly done an excellent job spreading word. It’s a dazzling lineup. Let the conversation begin! Adaora: First question is for Nancy. What can you tell us about advancing a new era of social justice in education? Nancy: The idea of the ivory tower as a monastic place is breaking down. What that means is we have no understanding of the groups we’re leaving behind. How do we level the playing field of education? If we don’t find ways to strengthen our connections to our communities, cities, rural areas, and bring in the population, we’re going to be stagnant. Adaora: Are we seeing that 50% female leadership in education yet? Nancy: No, not at all. What we are seeing at all levels is girls falling off the map as we go up. Adaora: Why is that?

<< Back to the Full Blog

SWING STATE FORUM--The View from Michigan

October 31, 2008 Posted by Linda Basch

Below is my exchange with Susan W. Kaufmann, Associate Director for Advocacy at the University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women, where she addresses issues important to women through research and action.  She holds an MS in environmental advocacy from the University of Michigan.

Linda Basch: What are the key issues facing women in your state?

<< Back to the Full Blog

Science for Everyone

Adler Planetarium Oct 15, 2008 SCIENCE FOR EVERYONE By Veronica Arreola, Director of the Women in Science and Engineering program at the University of Illinois-Chicago

<< Back to the Full Blog

Syndicate content