Amanda Allen

Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis


Political Science

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

gender; politics; Kentucky; priorities; success


This thesis uses Kentucky as a case study of gender differences in the policy priorities and perceptions of accomplishments of state legislators. The research question is, “are there gender differences in the legislative priorities and perceptions of accomplishments of Kentucky legislators?” The legislative priorities of the legislators seemed to be similar, along with their own classification of women’s issues. The perceptions of success demonstrated that male legislators were not necessarily more likely to attribute success to themselves, whereas women would attribute success to collaboration efforts. The research was completed through confidential interviews with Kentucky legislators and analysis of the 2015 legislative session bill data. The study of gender differences in policy priorities and perceptions of accomplishments of state legislators is an opportunity to gain insight on the effects of having few women in the state legislature.

Lay Summary

As the number of women legislators increased, more researchers became interested in gender differences in legislative behavior. There is now a wealth of information on the similarities and differences between men and women legislators on the state and national level. This thesis uses interview data and state legislative bill data to investigate the gender differences in Kentucky legislators regarding legislative priorities and perception of accomplishments. The similarities of the legislative priorities and the legislators’ similarities in the classifications of women’s issues were supported by the data.