Sanbonmatsu

Kira Sanbonmatsu

Professor of Political Science and Senior Scholar, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Media & Public Opinion
  • Voting
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Women

About Kira

Sanbonmatsu studies gender and American politics. Her research focuses on women’s election to office, gender stereotypes, party politics, and race/ethnicity. Sanbonmatsu has studied the effects of the parties’ candidate recruitment practices on women’s officeholding. She has examined public attitudes towards women’s officeholding and voter stereotypes about women candidates. Her current work focuses on officeholding by women of color. Sanbonmatsu is a Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics, where she helps to conduct and disseminate research about women and politics.

Briefs

Podcast

Publications

More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures (with Susan J. Carroll) (Oxford University Press, 2013, paperback 2013).
Analyzes nationwide surveys of state legislators conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics to challenge assumptions of a single model of candidate emergence with a relationally embedded model of candidacy. It reorients research on women's election to office and offers strategies for political practitioners concerned about women's political equality.
Democrats, Republicans, and the Politics of Women’s Place (University of Michigan Press, 2002).
Analyzes public opinion on women’s rights and changes in the parties’ positions on gender issues since the late 1960s.
Where Women Run: Gender and Party in the American States (University of Michigan Press, 2006).
Identifies the important role that parties play in recruiting candidates for state legislatures and the disadvantages parties can pose for electing women to office.
"Do Gender Stereotypes Transcend Party?" (with Kathleen Dolan). Political Research Quarterly 62, no. 3 (2009): 485-494.
Finds that voters hold gender stereotypes about both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and that stereotypes seem to help Democratic women more than Republican women.
"Poised to Run: Women’s Pathways to the State Legislatures," (with Susan J. Carroll and Debbie Walsh), Center for American Women and Politics, April 30, 2009.
Compares the pathways that women and men take to the legislatures. Among its findings, the report argues that more women can run because the pool of women eligible to hold state legislative office is larger than is commonly believed. The report also shows that women state legislators were more likely than men to have been recruited, suggesting that women do not need to have longstanding political ambition before becoming candidates and winning election.
"Life’s a Party: Do Political Parties Help or Hinder Women" Harvard International Review 32, no. 1 (2010): 36-39.
Reviews women’s involvement in the Democratic and Republican parties and the effect of parties on women’s election to office.
"Campaign Trainings for Women of Color: The Ready to RunTM Diversity Initiative," Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, March 31, 2012.
Presents a case study of a unique campaign training program designed to elect more women of color to office.

In the News

Kira Sanbonmatsu quoted on women who run for office in Shannon Clash, "An Office of Her Own: Female Lawmakers Defy Hurdles in Quest to Govern" NBC, April 2, 2016.