Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date



women of color, political participation, political leadership, mothers of color


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


While the ranks of women serving in public office and other political leadership positions are growing, women of color continue to represent a relatively small proportion of elected and other public officials in the United States. Sheneal centered her study on civically engaged mothers of color given that there is limited scholarship available on women of color who are mothers and politically active in their communities. Sheneal wanted to deepen our understanding of the barriers mothers of color face in entering and sustaining a political career.

Her study sought to better understand and analyze:

  • How civically engaged mothers of color enter into political careers (including running for office or seeking other positions of political leadership)
  • How those in elected or other positions of political leadership sustain their careers


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