Karen Beckwith

Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University

About Karen

Beckwith’s work focuses on gender and politics in the US and West Europe, including women and elections, political parties and participation, and social movements. Beckwith's research concerns how citizens participate in politics through social movement activism, and engagement with political parties and interest groups. Beckwith is particularly interested in how political institutions shape political opportunities and disadvantages along gender lines, and how women – and men – mobilize to assert their policy preferences. Beckwith's most recent work concerns the gendered processes of party leadership selection in parliamentary systems and how gender, race, and ethnicity shape cabinet formation in the US and West Europe.

In the News

Opinion: "Spain's Majority-Female Cabinet Embodies Women's Global Rise to Power," Karen Beckwith (with Susan Franceschet), The Conversation, July 13, 2018.
Opinion: "There are Three Rules of Cabinet Appointments. Will Donald Trump Break Them?," Karen Beckwith (with Claire Annesley and Susan Franceschet), The Washington Post, November 25, 2016.
Guest on WKSU NPR, November 9, 2016.
Opinion: "Why Bernie Sanders' Supporters Should be Good Losers," Karen Beckwith, The Conversation, August 1, 2016.
Opinion: "Gender Gap Dooms Trump," Karen Beckwith, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2016.
Opinion: "A Presidential Cabinet That Looks Like America Would Not be Hard to Achieve," Karen Beckwith,, May 11, 2016.
Guest on National Public Radio, March 16, 2016.
Opinion: "What is ‘Merit’ Anyway? On Using Gender Quotas in Cabinet Appointments," Karen Beckwith (with Claire Annesley and Susan Franceschet), PSA Women and Politics Blog, November 5, 2015.
Research discussed by Garance Franke-Ruta, in "Can the GOP Fix Its Woman Problem in Time to Fight Clinton?," The Atlantic, August 16, 2013.
Guest on KCRW's "To the Point", January 3, 2013.
Opinion: "Many Ohioans Have Already Voted," Karen Beckwith, New York Times, October 25, 2012.
Guest on WCPN's "The Sound of Ideas", October 22, 2012.
Research discussed by Gary White, in "Female Factor: Candidates Campaign on Women's Issues in Fight for Votes," The Ledger's "Politics in Polk", September 25, 2012.
Guest on WCPN's "The Sound of Ideas", March 7, 2012.
Interviewed in "Political Women, American Democracy, and the 2012 Elections," C-SPAN, September 29, 2011.
Opinion: "More than Just Jobs," Karen Beckwith, New York Times, October 4, 2010.


"Between Participation and Representation: Political Women and Democracy in the United States" in Political Women and American Democracy: Critical Perspectives on Women and Politics Research, edited by Christina Wolbrecht, Karen Beckwith, and Lisa Baldez (Cambridge University Press, 2008), 181-198.
Compares the participation of women as citizens with their representation in elective office and offers explanations for the discrepancy.
"Political Women and American Democracy" (with Christina Wolbrecht and Lisa Baldez) (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Provides a detailed, cross-time analysis of US women’s involvement in American democracy, with twelve chapters on women as citizens, voters, participants, movement activists, partisans, candidates and legislators.
"Numbers and Newness: The Descriptive and Substantive Representation of Women" Canadian Journal of Political Science 40, no. 1 (2007): 27-49.
Examines the relationship between the numbers of women elected to national legislatures and their impact, upon coming into office, on developing public policies for women.
"The Gendering Ways of States: Women’s Representation and State Transformations in France, Great Britain and the United States" in Women’s Movements Facing the Reconfigured State, edited by Lee Ann Banaszak, Karen Beckwith and Dieter Rucht (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 169-202.
Explains the reasons that women’s access to national legislatures varies across countries and the role of women’s movements in supporting female candidates for office.