The Integration of Women into North Carolina Politics: An Examination of Boards and Commissions

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Title: The Integration of Women into North Carolina Politics: An Examination of Boards and Commissions
Author: Whitener, Angela Michele
Advisors: Dr. Michael D. Cobb, Committee Chair
Dr. J. Oliver Williams, Committee Member
Dr. Andrew Taylor, Committee Member
Abstract: This thesis examines women's participation in politics by utilizing a model of gender integration. This model shows that there are two ways that women enter the political world: horizontally and vertically. Horizontal integration represents the increase of women into politics in numbers while vertical integration requires that women ascend to positions of power and leadership within the institution. The main focus of this study is an analysis of women's appointment to boards and commissions in North Carolina. My analysis focuses on the number of women serving on forty boards and commissions over an eight-year period. The boards and commissions were chosen in two groups. First, a survey of elected officials and other key individuals was performed to assess the state's most powerful boards and commissions. The top twenty of these were chosen for examination. Then, twenty lesser boards and commissions were chosen at random. After a statistical analysis of my results, I conclude that women are not making significant gains in their appointments to boards and commissions and I explain this lack of progress as an example of the continuing significance of political roles. Throughout the paper, I explore definitions of gender and how a woman's experiences may affect her participation in certain issue areas in the political realm, particularly with regard to appointments to boards and commissions. In addition, I discuss women in North Carolina politics from 1920 to the present and give substantive examples of how women have influenced public policy in North Carolina.
Date: 2004-01-29
Degree: MA
Discipline: Political Science

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