ASU group looks into women's representation in politics

May 5, 2017

Over the years Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies has developed working groups that emphases on advancing research in key areas. The Women and Politics Working Group has been active since 2013 and consist of scholars whose research focuses on women’s role in politics.

Three members of the Women and Politics Working Group, Magda Hinojosa, Miki Kittilson and Kim Fridkin, received a USAID award in 2014 to study symbolic representation through a natural experiment in Uruguay. Their recently published paper is part of USAID’s Research and Innovation Grants Working Paper Series and is titled "Does Women’s Political Presence Matter? Examining the Effects of Descriptive Representation on Symbolic Representation in Uruguay." ASU professors from left to right: Miki Kittilson, Magda Hinojosa and Kim Fridkin Download Full Image

Uruguay first applied a gender quota law in the 2014 elections. The researchers recognized that this presented a unique opportunity to examine how the increase in women’s parliamentary representation would affect Uruguayan citizens.

In order to figure out whether women’s representation actually mattered, the group polled Uruguay citizens on their interest, knowledge and participation in politics before and after the gender quota was implemented. Hinojosa also traveled to Uruguay in the summer of 2015 and 2016 to interview with female parliamentarians.

“The take-home point from our work in Uruguay is that women’s representation in politics matters,” shared Hinojosa.

The results of this research have been shared at USAID and ASU conferences.

“The implications of our work extend far beyond Uruguay,” Hinojosa said. “There’s a documented gender gap in political knowledge, interest, and participation across the globe. What we find is that this gender gap shrinks in response to changes in women’s legislative representation; as we say in our report: this gender gap is not insurmountable.”

Through their research the group believes that women would be more interested in politics if they see someone they could related to (i.e. women) representing them. A more gender equal political arena would be key in increasing the number of engaged citizens.  

“Our faculty strength in understanding the role women play in the political arena makes a critical contribution to the development agenda of USAID and other actors committed to advancing development around the world,” shared Cameron Thies, director of the School of Politics and Global Studies.

“Countries across the world are debating the merits of gender quotas and other affirmative action measures aimed at increasing women’s representation in political office,” Hinojosa said. “Our work is an important contribution to these debates.”

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies


Sun Devils shine bright in student contest

Peace Corps ambassador takes top prize in first-ever Students Shine contest

May 5, 2017

As a way to highlight student achievement and inspire future outreach, Arizona State University's ASASU Council of Presidents sponsored the first-ever Students Shine contest this spring. 

The student-run competition honored six areas of excellence — career, culture, engagement, service, spirit/affinity and wellness. Finalists were chosen for each category in late April, and an overall top three were announced on Friday, with senior Lindsay Dusard taking home the top prize.  group photo of students holding peace corps signs Lindsay Dusard (front center), the first-place winner of the Students Shine contest, served as a Peace Corps ambassador. Download Full Image

"This contest gave me the platform to share some of the different opportunities that I have taken advantage of here at ASU," Dusard said. "I hope it can encourage others to do the same." 

The W. P. Carey School of Business student has spent time serving as everything from a Peace Corps student ambassador to a counselor at Camp Kesem, a group that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. But Dusard said her favorite experience was her time as the chair of the Woodside Community Action Grant at ASU's Changemaker Central. The grant is a seed-funding competition for ASU students who are passionate about service.

"Being a recipient of and managing the Woodside Community Action [Grant] has had the greatest impact on me as an individual and my understanding of human engagement," she said. "We all think of things we would like to do to improve our community but never seem to have the resources. This program gives students the opportunity to actually make that vision possible." 

Educational Outreach and Student Services (EOSS) facilitated the contest, and the finalists had to fit a specific set of criteria laid out by EOSS social-media workers Regan Norton and Hailey Mensik. 

"We narrowed them down as they came in, and then the ASASU (Associated Students of ASU) Council of Presidents chose the finalists," said Mensik, a sophomore in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "We were really looking for creativity, originality and how well they represented the university." 

Norton and Mensik came up with the plan for the contest together, as a way to shine a spotlight on ASU students whose accomplishments and hard work may have gone overlooked. 

Stephanie Christensen, a global health major, took home second place for her work as the community service coordinator for the American Medical Student Association. In addition, Christensen also works at Changemaker Central, selling bags and jewelry made in Ghana to cover high school expenses for Ghanian children. She was also honored for the "engagement" category.

Third place was given to Logan Drda, a senior from Las Vegas. Drda is majoring in mechanical engineering and is an intern at Orbital ATK, an aerospace manufacturer and defense industry company.

Drda was also honored for the "career" category.

EOSS hopes the contest can become an annual tradition, Norton said. 

"It was really cool seeing students from campus show how involved they are," Norton said. "We just want to promote these awesome ASU students and help show off all of their achievements."

The full list of category winners is below. The awards also come with a cash prize of $1,750 for the top three winners and $750 for the remaining three finalists. 

  • Service (and overall first place): Lindsay Dusard, senior, business and marketing
  • Engagement (and overall second place): Stephanie Christensen, sophomore, global health
  • Career (and overall third place): Logan Drda, senior, mechnaical engineering
  • Culture: Radwa Ewaisha, graduate, molecular and cellular biology
  • Spirit/Affinity: Caitlin Hornik, senior, English
  • Wellness: Brittany Kunz, graduate, nursing
Connor Pelton

Communications Writer, ASU Now