Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date



women of color, political participation, political leadership, women of color leaders, political office, Massachusetts, elective office


American Politics | Gender and Sexuality | Politics and Social Change | Public Policy | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Women's Studies


Women of color are underrepresented in political office at multiple levels of government, from school committees to governorships nationwide. Women of color who are active in their communities have important qualities, perspectives, and experiences that are necessary in public policymaking settings that affect their communities. Yet many women of color who are well-known and respected in their communities do not seek elective office.

Martina sought to better understand factors that discourage women of color leaders from running for political office. Her project is important as it seeks to inform strategies to encourage more women of color in Massachusetts to run for office and identify resources that women of color need to do so. Martina’s study addressed an essential question regarding the political leadership of women of color: Why don’t women of color community leaders run for political office?


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