2018 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics funds seven projects

Seven research projects received funding through the 2018 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics.

“The Catt Center received a record 94 proposals from disciplines as varied as political science, history, theatre, queer studies, women’s studies and communication. Choosing from such a varied and high-quality pool of proposals is both rewarding and challenging,” said Karen M. Kedrowski, director of Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, which sponsors the annual awards.

The selection committee, composed of 19 faculty members, blind-reviewed the proposals and chose three projects as winners of the Catt Prize and four projects for honorable mention awards. Each of the winning prize proposals will receive $2,000. Honorable mention awards will receive $1,000 each.


Prize winners for 2018 are:

Rachel Bernhard, Andrew Eggers and Marko Klašnja

Rachel Bernhard, Andrew Eggers and Marko Klašnja
Rachel Bernhard, postdoctoral Prize Fellow in politics at Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Andrew Eggers, associate professor of quantitative methods in comparative government at Nuffield College at the University of Oxford; and Marko Klašnja, assistant professor of political science at Georgetown University, for “Wealth and Gender in Congressional Politics.” The study will examine four possible explanations for why female members of the U.S. Congress are wealthier, on average, than their male counterparts. The award will be used to hire research assistants to gather the data needed to code the variables.


Debra Lynn Leiter and Beth Miller Vonnahme

Debra Lynn Leiter and Beth Miller Vonnahme

Debra Lynn Leiter, assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Beth Miller Vonnahme, associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, for “Can Women Soften the Far Right? How Leadership Gender Affects Far Right Party Evaluations and Reaction to Scandal.” The study will examine the relationship between leadership gender, scandal and ideological party family on party reputation to help understand how far-right parties have broadened their electoral support. The award will be used to recruit and conduct a pilot study with Mechanical Turk.


Alexandria Wilson

Alexandria Wilson

Alexandria Wilson, doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Florida, for “From Violence to Backlash: An Examination of Feminist Opposition to Anti-Gender Movements in Central and Eastern Europe.” The study will examine how women’s organizations in Central and Eastern Europe resist anti-gender campaigns and continue their activism in an environment of gender backlash. The award will be used to fund two months of fieldwork in Warsaw and Krakow, Poland.


Recipients of honorable mention awards are:

Lindsay Benstead

Lindsay Benstead

Lindsay J. Benstead, associate professor of political science at Portland State University, for “More Than Numbers: Women’s Political Representation in the Arab World.” The study examines whether the six-fold increase in women’s presence in Arab parliaments and local councils from 1997 to 2018 improves women’s substantive and symbolic representation. The award will be used to hire a research assistant to provide support with research, the literature review and editing.


Jennifer Cryer

Jennifer Cryer
Jennifer E. Cryer, doctoral candidate in political science at Stanford University, for “Candidate Identity, Communication, and Voter Evaluations: The Effect of Campaign Messages on Bias Attenuation.” This survey experiment will examine the effect of identity-influenced messaging strategies on voter perceptions. The award will be used to compensate respondents in the survey.


Cindy Richards

Cindy Richards
Cindy Richards, associate professor of civic communication and media at Willamette University, for “Still Hunt: How Women Remade the Politics of the Pacific Northwest, 1850-1912.” This book project tells the history of the suffrage campaigns in Oregon and Washington, where women won voting rights almost a decade before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The award will be used to fund travel to the University of Washington Special Collections for archival research.


Amanda Roberti

Amanda Roberti
Amanda Roberti, assistant professor of political science at Ramapo College of New Jersey, for “Conservative Women Legislators and the Co-option of Feminist Rhetoric to Restrict Abortion.” The study analyzes the role of conservative women in the development of “pro-woman” abortion restrictions in state legislatures. The award will be used to hire undergraduate researchers to assist with data collection and coding.


The annual research prize has been funded since 1994 by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics through private donations. Since 1994, the Catt Center has awarded $110,500 to 110 research projects.

Members of the 2018 Catt Prize Selection Committee are Iowa State faculty members David Andersen, Tessa Ditonto, Jonathan Hassid, Mark Nieman, David Peterson, Kelly Shaw, Mack Shelley, Alex Tuckness and Robert Urbatsch, all with the Department of Political Science; Amy Bix and Stacy Cordery, Department of History; Daniela Dimitrova and Kelly Winfrey, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication; Denise Oles-Acevedo, Department of English; and Kedrowski; as well as Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center director emerita. Andrew Green, professor of political science at Central College in Pella, Iowa; Jayme Renfro, assistant professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa; and Ben Warner, associate professor of communication and co-director of the Political Communication Institute at the University of Missouri-Kansas City also served on the committee, which was assisted by Sue Cloud, communications specialist for the Catt Center.