Christianne Corbett is a PhD Candidate in Stanford’s Department of Sociology. Her dissertation project focuses on the role of empathy and perspective-taking in creating inclusive work environments. Her broader research agenda focuses on occupational gender segregation and barriers to women in leadership. Her survey experiment explores gender differences in penalties assessed to women and men presidential candidates when they fail to meet voter expectations.
Women presidential candidates face a double bind because expectations for leaders and expectations for women often conflict, yet they seem to be held to both. This research project looks at what happens when presidential candidates fail to live up to voter expectations and whether the negative effects of such failings are greater for women than for men candidates. Specifically, this project explores whether women presidential candidates are more strongly penalized than men presidential candidates when their behavior fails to match the behavior expected of leaders and when their behavior fails to match the behavior expected of women. This project additionally compares the penalties women face for violating each set of expectations: Are women more harshly penalized for being “bad women” or for for being “bad leaders”? Results will shed light on barriers to a woman being elected to the U.S. presidency.