Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


The study of women and politics and their involvement throughout American history has lacked depth and consistency. While the changing role of women during the 1960's spurred many political changes, it was not until the second wave of the feminist movement. which was in a political activist direction, that the status of women in politics became a legitimate topic of academic study (Milano 5). The intention of this paper is to study the history of women in the Virginia General Assembly in terms of their leadership, legislation. and the impact of women's network groups on their political success. I hope to make connections between women's leadership behaviors, current leadership theories. political leadership, and gender based research.

By researching women in the Virginia General Assembly over the past forty years, I hope to build a solid picture of women and their developing styles of leadership. This research will help to fill the gaps in gender-based and political-based leadership studies. The areas I will be examining specifically in this study are the likelihood of women to introduce successful legislative agendas. the purpose and impact of women's caucuses and informal network groups, and finally how women perceive themselves and their women colleagues in terms of leadership roles. I will be studying these areas in terms of how they have changed and developed over the past half of a century.

Overall, the results of this study seem to coincide with the literature reviewed earlier. The major leadership issue appears to be finding a common role for legislators to fulfill regardless of their sex or political ideologies. The different interpretations of the role, and of whether or not the means or the ends are most important, needs to be decided before the legislature can be entirely successful. A greater understanding and respect for the different styles of leadership must also be adopted by all those concerned. Leadership does not come in just one form, nor is it effective in only one form. When legislators can respect these differences they are more likely to respect one another and the challenges they face as individuals and a group.