Women as Politicians: The Social Background, Personality, and Political Careers of Female Party Leaders1


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    We would like to express our appreciation to the Institute of Governmental Studies and the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research, both of the University of California at Berkeley, for their generous support of this study and of the larger study of party leadership in California of which this is a part.


Women attaining high levels of political party leadership in California are the focus of this interdisciplinary study of personality and politics. The energies of female politicians tend to be directed toward a career within the political party. Compared to male leaders, they less often fashion a political career around the goal of public office and a political career serves less frequently as an integral part of a broad social career. Female leaders tend to express the forceful, effective, and socially ascendant style in an earnest, sobersided, and ambivalent manner; male leaders express the same personal style in a more easy-going, direct, and uncomplicated way. The interplay among personality, sex-role typing, and political career is discussed.