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Pennoni Panels: The Electability Question: What Makes an Electable Woman?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

6:30 PM-8:00 PM

Whether it is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s bold lip color, Hillary Clinton’s cankles, or Elizabeth Warren’s affectations, women running for office or currently in positions of power encounter a range of commentary regarding their appearance and qualifications. In a 2018 study, political scientists Rachel Garrett and Dominik Stecula found that women described with masculine-coded language like “ambitious” and assertive” were considered more qualified and capable than those described more femininely like “compassionate.”  Language not only imparts visual information about a candidate, but it allows the public to dissect her brand. How do we utilize language  while being  conscious of the impact our words have on female candidates’ electability?  This panel seeks to unpack the way we talk about women, the balance candidates have to strike between qualified and likable, and methods for redirecting the discourse.

Contact Information

Erica L Zelinger

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Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


  • Everyone