Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Political Science

Document Type



Significant amounts of previous research focused on political ambition as a source of the gender gap in representation (Beyer and Bowden 1997; Pajares 2002; Fox 2010; Fox and Lawless 2014). This research looks to examine extracurricular activities (or after-school activities) and the effects they have on political ambition of girls as they grow up. Extracurricular activities provide girls access to competition, risk and female role models which can work to combat gender role socialization and other hindrances to running for political office. Using a survey of 300 undergraduate students at a large southern university, I measure the effect of extracurricular activities on political ambition using respondents' current political engagement and their interest in seeking political office. The models I run show that leadership roles in extracurricular activities can lead to an increase in political ambition in women. The amount of risk the respondent took in the activity had a negative and significant effect on ambition. Having a coach of the same sex had a negative and significant effect on political ambition.

Committee Chair

Bauer, Nichole