Date of Award

Fall 1993

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Badaracco, Claire

Second Advisor

Scotton, James

Third Advisor

Boles, Janet


When I left my country of birth, India, to come to the united states in 1990, it was in search of a place where women enjoyed much greater freedom, power, and esteem than those of us from my part of the world. While I have found this to be somewhat true, I also see women struggling for recognition and representation in every aspect of life here, much as their counterparts allover the world. Does it matter that women are so underrepresented? Do women really make a difference? According to a 1992 study conducted by the center for American Woman and Politics, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Brundtland, noted that in her first term as Prime Minister she appointed women to 20 percent of cabinet positions. In her second term, she appointed women to half of the cabinet roles. When asked, "Do women make a difference?" her response was, "Absolutely, women change the agenda." India, probably the largest democracy in the world (population of nearly 100 million), and a country considered less developed in many senses, was one of the first few countries to elect a woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1975. The country can also boast two women governors, two women Chief Ministers of states, one woman ambassador and a fair number of women representatives in the two houses of the parliament. India's immediate neighbor, Pakistan, has recently elected a woman Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. In 1993, more than two centuries since the birth of the country and almost 75 years since women won the right to vote, women still hold a tiny portion of political power in the united states. While the practice of democratic elections in the united states may not be unique, the role of the press and its complete freedom to discuss not only the race but the personal, past and present history of candidates, is certainly unique. with this perspective I approached this study, not only for my own interest but also hoping it would contribute to an understanding of the press and the women candidates for public office in the united states. I was also extremely fortunate to observe the Presidential and the Senate elections of 1992, in which a number of women participated.



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