Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University
Expertise & Civic Involvements
Sanbonmatsu studies gender and American politics. Her research focuses on women’s election to office, gender stereotypes, party politics, and race/ethnicity. Sanbonmatsu has studied the effects of the parties’ candidate recruitment practices on women’s officeholding. She has examined public attitudes towards women’s officeholding and voter stereotypes about women candidates. Her current work focuses on officeholding by women of color. Sanbonmatsu is a Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics, where she helps to conduct and disseminate research about women and politics.
More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures (with ) (Oxford University Press, 2013, paperback 2013). Analyzes nationwide surveys of state legislators conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics to challenge assumptions of a single model of candidate emergence with a relationally embedded model of candidacy. It reorients research on women's election to office and offers strategies for political practitioners concerned about women's political equality.
"Campaign Trainings for Women of Color: The Ready to RunTM Diversity Initiative," Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, April, 2012. Presents a case study of a unique campaign training program designed to elect more women of color to office.
"Life’s a Party: Do Political Parties Help or Hinder Women" Harvard International Review 32, no. 1 (2010): 36-39. Reviews women’s involvement in the Democratic and Republican parties and the effect of parties on women’s election to office.
"Poised to Run: Women’s Pathways to the State Legislatures," (with ), Center for American Women and Politics, May, 2009. Compares the pathways that women and men take to the legislatures. Among its findings, the report argues that more women can run because the pool of women eligible to hold state legislative office is larger than is commonly believed. The report also shows that women state legislators were more likely than men to have been recruited, suggesting that women do not need to have longstanding political ambition before becoming candidates and winning election.
"Do Gender Stereotypes Transcend Party?" (with ). Political Research Quarterly 62, no. 3 (2009): 485-494. Finds that voters hold gender stereotypes about both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and that stereotypes seem to help Democratic women more than Republican women.
Where Women Run: Gender and Party in the American States (University of Michigan Press, 2006). Identifies the important role that parties play in recruiting candidates for state legislatures and the disadvantages parties can pose for electing women to office.
Democrats, Republicans, and the Politics of Women’s Place (University of Michigan Press, 2002). Analyzes public opinion on women’s rights and changes in the parties’ positions on gender issues since the late 1960s.