Jennifer Lawless

Fast Facts

  • Chair, UVA Department of Politics
  • Author or co-author of six books
  • Editor of the American Journal of Political Science
  • Expertise on women and politics, campaigns and elections, political media

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Media and the Press
  • Governance
  • Elections
  • Politics

Jennifer L. Lawless is the Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and chair of the UVA Department of Politics. She is also has affiliations with UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Miller Center.

Her research focuses on political ambition, campaigns and elections, and media and politics. She is the author or co-author of seven books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (with Danny Hayes) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (with Richard L. Fox). Her research, which has been supported by the National Science Foundation, has appeared in numerous academic journals and is regularly cited in the popular press.

Lawless is the co-editor in chief of the American Journal of Political Science. She graduated from Union College with a BA in political science and Stanford University with an MA and PhD in political science. In 2006, she sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island’s second congressional district. Although she lost the race, she remains an obsessive political junkie.

Jennifer Lawless News Feed

Jennifer Lawless, politics professor at the University of Virginia, said Hunt's campaign represents how far American society and politics has gone. "Ten years ago or 20 years ago she couldn't have even run" because of societal beliefs and pressure, Lawless said. She added: "It's progress in and of itself that somebody with that background feels confident and qualified to run for office. I think that demonstrates some degree of progress."
Jennifer Lawless Wisconsin Public Radio
Women make up more than half of the U.S. population, yet less than a third of the nation’s elected leaders. It’s not because they’re not winning. It’s because they’re not running. And studies show that the gender gap in political ambition is just as big today as it was 20 years ago. Why, and how do we change that? Andy poses those questions to gender and politics researcher Jennifer Lawless and She Should Run founder Erin Loos Cutraro.
Jennifer Lawless In the Bubble Podcast
Some may call the ongoing confirmation hearings of Judge Katanji Brown Jackson "political theater," but experts say it may not be what people think. It's the first time a Black woman is sitting before a Senate Judiciary Committee in a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and though some of the questions are relevant, for those watching at home, it may be more about the senators asking them than Jackson's answers. "So when Ted Cruz is grilling her or Josh Hawley is grilling her, it has far more to do with them than her,” said Jennifer Lawless, with the University of Virginia Miller Center.
Jennifer Lawless CBS19
Despite the efforts of dozens of organizations and investment of millions of donor dollars over decades poured into convincing more women to run for political office, the newest report from Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox’s Citizen Political Ambition Study finds that the political ambition gap between men and women interested in running for office is virtually unchanged in the 20 years since the study was first conducted.
Jennifer Lawless MS Magazine
s the 2022 midterm election season gets underway, speculation is already mounting that it’s going to be another banner year for female candidates. Early reports suggest that Black women and Republican women are especially poised to make historic gains. But make no mistake, even if 2022 is another so-called “Year of the Woman,” politics is still a man’s game.
Jennifer Lawless Brookings
“A clear indication of strength is a robust fundraising quarter. And here, it’s not the total cash-on-hand that matters most, but rather, the breadth of support,” said Jennifer Lawless at the University of Virginia. “Even if Foulkes can self-fund, voters want to see that they’re backing a winner. And lots of donations from a broad base of Rhode Islanders is one important cue. Being able to write yourself a large check? Not so much.”
Jennifer Lawless GoLocalProv