Date of Completion

May 2005


Congressional leadership is a constantly changing phenomenon. New factors and actors are constantly affecting and altering which members ascend to positions of leadership and how that leadership is exercised. A critical change that has occurred in recent times is the inclusion of women in the congressional leadership for the first time. While there has been a great deal of theoretical work on gender and on congressional leadership, there have not been enough actual female leaders in Congress to perform a study until now. The present study examines the impact of gender, committee/legislative performance, ideology, and fundraising ability on leadership ascendancy. The variables are investigated through a comparative case study of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Harry Reid.