Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Sarah Gershon

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Lazarus

Third Advisor

Michael Fix


Using data from an original survey experiment, this dissertation explores various ways that women’s sports might impact American politics. In the first empirical chapter, this project investigates how sports participation works through confidence and competitiveness to impact the political ambitions of women. I find evidence of a conditional mediated relationship between sport participation and political ambition. The second empirical chapter utilizes an intersectional approach that considers how sport participation impacts White and Black women differently. The data reveals an indirect relationship between sport participation and ambition for White women and a direct relationship for Back women. In the final empirical chapter investigating how exposure to women’s sports impacts attitudes, the data demonstrate that exposure to professional women athletes reduces prejudice toward women politicians for Democratic and Independent men while worsening prejudice for Republican men.


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