Karen Beckwith

Flora Stone Mather Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Civic Engagement
  • Election 2016
  • Social Movements
  • Voting
  • Women

Connect with Karen

About Karen

Beckwith’s work focuses on gender and politics in the US, women and elections, political parties and participation, and social movements. Her research concerns how citizens participate in politics through voting, social movement activism, and engagement with political parties and interest groups. She is particularly interested in how US politics shapes political opportunities and disadvantages along gender lines, and how women – and men – mobilize to assert their policy preferences.



"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.
"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.
"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.

In the News

"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 to discuss female candidates on WKSU NPR, Karen Beckwith, November 9, 2016.
"Why Bernie Sanders' Supporters Should be Good Losers," Karen Beckwith, The Conversation, August 1, 2016.
"Gender Gap Dooms Trump," Karen Beckwith, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2016.
Guest to discuss 2016 election on National Public Radio, Karen Beckwith, March 16, 2016.
"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.
Karen Beckwith's research on the partisan imbalance in elected women discussed in Garance Franke-Ruta. Karen Beckwith, "Can the GOP Fix Its Woman Problem in Time to Fight Clinton?," The Atlantic, August 16, 2013.
Guest to discuss Hillary Clinton's career on KCRW's "To the Point", Karen Beckwith, January 3, 2013.
Guest to discuss the effectiveness of campaign ads on WCPN's "The Sound of Ideas", Karen Beckwith, October 22, 2012.
"Many Ohioans Have Already Voted," Karen Beckwith, Room for Debate, New York Times, October 25, 2012.
Guest to discuss the Ohio primary elections on WCPN's "The Sound of Ideas", Karen Beckwith, March 7, 2012.
Karen Beckwith's research on female voters and voter turnout discussed in Gary White. Karen Beckwith, "Female Factor: Candidates Campaign on Women's Issues in Fight for Votes," The Ledger's "Politics in Polk", September 25, 2012.
"More than Just Jobs," Karen Beckwith, Room for Debate, New York Times, October 4, 2010.
"Political Women, American Democracy, and the 2012 Elections," Karen Beckwith, Interview with C-SPAN Digital Bus reporting staff, C-SPAN, September 29, 2011.