Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Sweet-Cushman's research and teaching focus on issues of women’s political representation. She is concerned about policy outcomes on women’s issues, with direct focus on how fewer women candidates (than men) translates into fewer women in elective office representing women’s best policy interests. As a research scholar at the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, these interests are most keenly applied to Pennsylvania where women’s underrepresentation is acute and the state is frequently noted for its lacking support of women’s public policy needs. As such, she is heavily engaged in the execution of the state’s Ready to Run™ campaign trainings for women and the NEW Leadership™ program for college women. Insights from Pennsylvania are quite frequently transferable to more generalizable observations in American politics.
Discusses the policy impacts on citizens--particularly on women--of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in Pennsylvania, one of the 21 states where lawmakers have not expanded their coverage beyond that of federal law.
Offers a look at the unique strengths that women bring to policymaking and their impact on government.
Uses a pre-post test design to examine the effects of political campaign training for women on political ambition and traditional pre-cursors to political ambition.
Draws on evolutionary psychology to contribute to explanations for gender differences in contemporary political ambition.
Details the impact of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as well as the complex web of additional protectiosn many states have. Offers a case study of the policy impact on citizens--particularly women, minorities, and the poor--in Pennsylvania, one of 21 states where lawmakers have not expanded their coverage beyond that of federal law.