The role of a gendered policy agenda in closing the mayoral ambition gap: The case of Texas female city council members
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This study explores female city council member political ambition to run for mayor. Women who hold mayoral office are potentially more competitive for higher elected office at the state and federal level. This study is based on a survey sent to Texas city council members in cities over 30,000. Forty-one percent of respondents said they would most likely run for mayor at some point, and we do find a gender gap in ambition (50% of men and 36% of women). However, we find that women who advocated a gendered local government political agenda exhibited higher levels of political ambition compared women who do not, and the ambition gap is reduced significantly. This finding holds up, controlling for other factors suggested by the literature that are predictors of political ambition. Two of these other factors—age and personal support—also increase city council member mayoral ambition. The findings are discussed in terms of strategies to increase female mayoral ambition.