Barbara Lee Family Foundation

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation advances women’s equality and representation in American politics and in the field of contemporary art. Our work in both our program areas is guided by our core belief that women’s voices strengthen our democracy and enrich our culture.

20+ Years of Research on Women in Politics

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation is the only organization dedicated to specifically studying women running for executive office on both sides of the aisle. For nearly two decades, elected officials, candidates, practitioners, and press have used Barbara Lee Family Foundation research to better understand the obstacles and opportunities that women in politics encounter.

Our Research

Staying Power: Strategies for Women Incumbents

Women incumbents face specific challenges when running for reelection. Against the conventional wisdom to “speak softly,” Staying Power shows that voters think highly of women who own their achievements and stand up to critics. With clear, specific communication about their records, women incumbents can connect with voters and help close the gender gap in political office.

Gender on the Ballot

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation and the Women & Politics Institute at American University are proud to partner for Gender on the Ballot, a nonpartisan project to examine and contextualize gender dynamics in politics. As the conversation and culture around running for office in the United States continues to evolve, Gender on the Ballot contributes to the national dialogue on gender and politics through accessible content from experts and practitioners.

Our Research

Putting Sexism in its Place on the Campaign Trail

With more women than ever seeking elected office, more women are likely to face sexism on the campaign trail. The decisions of whether and how to address sexism can be complex to navigate for women candidates—this research offers tools to handle it effectively.

Women don't run for office looking for fame or fortune, they run to make a difference.

Barbara Lee

Featured Research

Putting Sexism in its Place on the Campaign Trail (2021)

With more women than ever in elected office, more women are likely to face sexism on the campaign trail. Sexism in politics can take many forms, from double standards for women candidates, to undue criticisms of their appearance, voice, or clothing. The decisions of whether and how to address sexism can be complex to navigate for women candidates—involving questions about the candidate’s electability, how to deal with personal offense, and how to message about sexist incidents.

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