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 Lenore Reeves and George Spicer Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and chair of the Department of Politics. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, she was a professor of government at American University and the director of the Women & Politics Institute. Before that, she was an assistant and then associate professor at Brown University.

Lawless's research focuses on political ambition, campaigns and elections, and media and politics. She is the author or co-author of six 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.

She is an editor of the American Journal of Political Science and holds an appointment as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Lawless 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

Bringing up a potentially controversial past before opponents or the media do can allow candidates to “inoculate themselves” against criticism, said Jennifer Lawless, a politics professor at the University of Virginia and the author of multiple books on women’s campaigns. But regardless of Hunt’s approach, Lawless said, it’s unlikely that Evans’s team (who has yet to publicly address Hunt’s run in any way and did not respond to a request for comment) would mention her history at all in the campaign.
Jennifer Lawless The Washington Post
Senior Fellow Jennifer Lawless explains how women are just as likely as men to win an election, far less likely to be encouraged to run, and how we can correct this imbalance.
Jennifer Lawless You Don't Have to Yell
Senior Fellow Jennifer Lawless discusses Jaime Herrera Beutler's career: "She was only the ninth woman to give birth while serving in Congress, at a time when young mothers in politics were just beginning to be accepted by the public."
Jennifer Lawless The New York Times
Commentators suggest that the #MeToo movement has moved into a new phase, in part because Mr. Trump – seen by some as the catalyst – is no longer in office. “With Donald Trump out of the limelight, by definition, the entire movement stepped back a bit,” says Jennifer Lawless, a political scientist at the University of Virginia.
Jennifer Lawless The Christian Science Monitor
“If it was just Tanden, I’d say her circumstances are sufficiently unusual that we might not want to generalize. But it’s not just her,” said Jennifer Lawless, a political science professor at the University of Virginia and an expert in gender and politics. “If you’ve got a handful of nominees who are either women or people of color systematically experiencing more hurdles and doubt than white men going through the confirmation process, that raises a flag.”
Jennifer Lawless HuffPost
“The country is facing a series of crises simultaneously,” said Jennifer Lawless, professor of politics at the University of Virginia. “In a lot of ways, she has to be the first lady times two just because the environment is so much more difficult than it has been for the last 100 years.”
Jennifer Lawless The Hill