Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Gershon

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Steigerwalt

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Lazarus


Many studies have noted that the conflict between gender and party stereotypes may disadvantage Republican female candidates among some voters. On the other hand, gender and party attachment may also prove advantageous for Republican women in competitive races where moderate and independent voters play an important role. In this paper, the author examines how partisanship and race competitiveness impact how, and if, female candidates choose to emphasize their gendered identity, highlight women’s interests, and pursue a feminine trait strategy on their campaign websites. The author gives special attention to Republican female candidates running in competitive races, and argues that these candidates may have an extra incentive and ability to connect with voters by emphasizing gender. This study uses data collected through a content analysis of the campaign websites of 162 female candidates in the 2014 Congressional midterm election.