2017 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics funds seven projects

Seven research projects received funding through the 2017 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics.

"We received a record 84 proposals from researchers in a variety of academic disciplines, which made the task of the selection committee difficult," said Dianne Bystrom, director of Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, which sponsors the annual awards. The selection committee, composed of 16 faculty members, blind-reviewed the proposals and chose four projects as winners of the Catt Prize and three projects for honorable mention awards. Each of the winning prize proposals received $2,000. Honorable mention awards received $1,000 each.


Mark Daku and Meredith Conroy
Mark Daku and Meredith Conroy

Prize winners for 2017 are:

Mark Daku, assistant professor of political science at Texas Christian University, and Meredith Conroy, assistant professor of political science at California State University, for "The Development of a Stand-Alone Dictionary for Automated Analysis of Gendered Text." The study will develop and test a reliable dictionary for automated measurement to expand the capacity of researchers to assess gendered language in a comparable, replicable and efficient way. The award will be used to hire human coding participants to analyze text and student research assistants to help administer the hand-coding phase, data management and analysis.


Kelly Dittmar
Kelly Dittmar

Kelly Dittmar, assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University-Camden and scholar at Rutger's Center for American Women and Politics, for "The Changing Roles, Experiences and Influence of Women Congressional Staff." The study examines the historical evolution of women’s roles as members of congressional staff and the implications of women staffers’ changing representation and power on Capitol Hill for policy debates, congressional culture and institutional change. The award will be used for travel expenses to visit Washington, D.C., for archival research at the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate historians’ offices.


Kimberly Hamlin
Kimberly Hamlin

Kimberly Hamlin, associate professor of American studies and history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, for "Woman Citizen: Helen Hamilton Gardener and Women’s Suffrage in America." The project is the first biography of the woman who served as the suffragists’ lead negotiator to the U.S. Congress and President Woodrow Wilson during the final push for the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. The award will be used for travel expenses to visit the Civil Service Commission archives at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C..


Ana Catalano Weeks and Sparsha Saha
Ana Catalano Weeks and Sparsha Saha

Ana Catalano Weeks, lecturer (assistant professor) of comparative politics at the University of Bath, and Sparsha Saha, preceptor at Harvard University's College Writing Center, for "Seeking More: Gender, Ambition, and Candidate Evaluations." The study examines voter perceptions of "ambition" in politics and whether they are gendered. The award will be used to increase the number of respondents in their survey to more fully examine variations across respondent subsets identified in preliminary findings.


Recipients of honorable mention awards are:

Abby Córdova and Annabella España-Nájera
Abby Córdova and Annabella España-Nájera

Abby Córdova, assistant professor of political science at the University of Kentucky, and Annabella España-Nájera, associate professor of Chicano and Latin American studies at California State University, Fresno, for "Making Decentralization Work for Women: The Electability and Representation of Women in Local Governments." The study seeks to identify challenges that Latin American women still face to be elected to office and influence public policy at the local level. The award will be used to increase the number of interviews in the third wave of a multi-year elite survey of council members in El Salvador.


Heather Hicks
Heather Hicks

Heather Hicks, doctoral candidate in government and politics at the University of Maryland-College Park, for "Intersectional Stereotyping in Political Campaigns: The Effects of Race and Gender on Evaluations of Black Women Candidates." The study examines the intersection of racism and gender bias when a female minority candidate runs for political office. The award will be used for expenses to utilize Amazon's Mechanical Turk in recruiting a national sample of participants for a survey experiment.


Neil Narang
Neil Narang

Neil Narang, assistant professor of political science at the University of California-Santa Barbara, for "Are Peacekeeping Units With More Females More Effective? Evaluating the Impact of Female Peacekeepers on Post-conflict Outcomes and Behavior." The study explores the theoretical mechanisms through which female military personnel are thought to increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping units. The award will be used to hire graduate research assistants to code the data.


The annual research prize has been funded since 1994 by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, most recently through a gift from Mary Jo and Richard Stanley to the center’s general endowment. Since 1994, the Catt Center has awarded $100,500 to 103 research projects.

Members of the 2017 Catt Prize Selection Committee are Iowa State faculty members David Andersen, Tessa Ditonto, Scott Feinstein, Jonathan Hassid, Mark Nieman, David Peterson, Kelly Shaw, Mack Shelley, Amy Erica Smith, Alex Tuckness and Robert Urbatsch, all with the Department of Political Science; Amy Bix, Department of History; Kelly Winfrey, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication; Andrew Green, professor of political science at Central College in Pella, Iowa; Jayme Neiman Renfro, assistant professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa; and Bystrom. The committee was assisted by Sue Cloud, communications specialist at the Catt Center.