Given all the efforts women have organized to attain political office and the evidence they have marshaled that women's involvement makes a difference, why doesn't it happen? The reasons are probably embedded in our political structure.


The strength of incumbency and inherent difficulty for challengers to achieve change affects all newcomers, women prominently among them. Since incumbents overwhelmingly are men, there is not much of a chance for women to break in unless they are willing to be forceful challengers and some examples of success exist.

Party Chairs

In addition, New Jersey still has both a strong tradition and laws that leave the decisions of who runs to the chairs of the county political parties, nearly all held by men. Women report that without women in leadership roles, the old boys' network will continue to favor those with whom they are familiar and in many cases have groomed. 

The nature of campaigns themselves nasty and negative may discourage women's participation. They wonder why anyone would want to be part of the current mode of political campaigning. Consequently, women are seeking other routes for public involvement through non-profit organizations and issue-oriented campaigns.


Finally, raising money has often been cited as a reason women don't enter into politics or don't succeed at it, but recent studies by national organizations, Emily's List (Democrats) and Wish List (Republicans), show that if women are given the chance to run, they get financial support and they generate it successfully.