Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 17 > Issue 2

Can the Political Ambition of Young Women Be Increased? Evidence from U.S. High School Students

Joshua Kalla, Department of Political Science and Department of Statistics and Data Science, Yale University, USA, josh.kalla@yale.edu , Ethan Porter, George Washington University, USA, evporter@gwu.edu
Suggested Citation
Joshua Kalla and Ethan Porter (2022), "Can the Political Ambition of Young Women Be Increased? Evidence from U.S. High School Students", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 17: No. 2, pp 259-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00020106

Publication Date: 28 Apr 2022
© 2022 J. Kalla and E. Porter
Political participation,  Political psychology
Women and politicspolitical participationpolitical ambition


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In this article:
L'Taken, Gender, and Political Ambition 
Research Design 
Discussion and Conclusion 


The under-representation of women in American politics can likely be explained, at least in part, by women's comparatively lower levels of political ambition. We analyze a co-ed, religious program for high school students in which participants lobby their Members of Congress and receive political skills training. By leveraging longitudinal survey data about the participants and a difference-in-differences design, we find that the program successfully increased the political ambition of its female participants. To the best of our knowledge, we offer the first quasi-experimental evidence demonstrating a possible means of increasing the political ambition of high school-aged American women. Our results demonstrate that female political ambition can be increased without relying on programs that explicitly focus on gender and ambition.