Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Sara Stifano

Honors Major



This paper aims to get a better understanding of the gender gap in political ambition for college men and women. Using data from a survey collected from 348 University of Connecticut students, I examined their perceptions of running for political office, their understanding of the campaign process, their personal political activity, and their likelihood to run for political office in the future. It was found that there was a gender gap in political ambition, but not in the traditional way. I found that women wanted to run for office far more than men, in general and at the local level. Men and women had different reasons for not wanting to run for office and they saw the political arena’s treatment of women very differently. Women were found to be equally, if not slightly more, comfortable with the activities and qualifications required of a candidate and elected official. Those who were politically active were not found to be more likely to want to run for office, but those who consumed political social media were more likely. This study shows a snapshot of what the current college student thinks of politics and running for office, and it shows promising results for the eventual end of the gender gap.