Madeleine Kunin

University Of Vermont
Department of Political Science

POLS 229A - Women, Politics, Leadership
Fall 2006

Professor Madeleine May Kunin
Class meets: T/TH 12:30-1:45, Old Mill 523
Office: 527 Old Mill
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 12:15—12:45Button
And by Appointment
Office: 656.9950
Home: 951-9204
Download Printable Syllabus (pdf)


The seminar will analyze the role of women in political leadership nationally and internationally and explore how students can develop their own leadership skills in both the public and private sectors.

The first part of the seminar will focus on the history of the suffrage movement. We will then look at the modern women’s movement and examine the impact that women have had on the political agenda as citizens, party activists, members of interest groups and as elected officials.

We will read about a number of role models and will have guest lectures given by women in leadership positions or women who have fostered leadership skills in others.


The goal of the seminar is to enhance leadership skills by providing a safe space to practice public speaking, critical thinking and writing in class.

Another purpose is to foster a sense of civic engagement on any level (voting, public activism, running for office) and to encourage students to “dream big” and envision themselves in leadership roles.

Finally, the seminar is intended to enable students to fulfill their full potential as individuals, as members of families, of the community and the larger society.

REQUIRED TEXTS (available in the book store)

Susan Carroll, 2005, Gender and Elections in American Politics, Cambridge

Sara M. Evans, 2003, Tidal Wave, How women Changed America at Century’s End. The Free Press, New York.

Sue J.M. Freeman, 2002, Women on Power, Northeastern University Press, Boston.

Alice S. Rossi, editor, 1973, reprint 2004, The Feminist Papers, Northeastern University Press, Boston.

Donna Brazile, 2004, Cooking with Grease, Simon & Schuster, New York.

Madeleine Kunin, 1994, Living a Political Life, Alfred A. Knopf, New York

A variety of newspaper articles, usually available in class


Students are required to read The New York Times every day, either in hard copy or on-line.


Class participation is very important. Every student should feel free to express his or her ideas, questions, and opinions.


Grades will be determined by the following factors:

Journal following the life of a woman, either living or historical - 5%
Oral presentation on paper - 5%
Final Paper - 30%
Reaction papers - 20%
Quizzes - 20%
Groups activities, class participation, attendance - 20%


Chose a woman role model; either living or dead.

Write in your journal about the woman leader you have chosen. If living, follow current events, keep clippings, and analyze her successes and failures.

If she is a historical figure, work on your research every week, finding as many original sources as possible. This woman may be a national or international figure.

Please submit your choice on September 7, 2005 in writing.


The final paper will be between 10 and 15 pages. Please footnote and include your sources either in the text, or at the end.

In all writing that you submit in class, proofread, have your roommate proofread the paper and read it aloud in advance of handing it in. The quality of your writing is as important as the content.


Plagiarism is absolutely prohibited, and will result in a failing grade. See the UVM Policy on Academic Honesty (

Three rules of thumb for avoiding plagiarism are:

Any time you take an idea from someone else, (this includes the Web) give the source.

Any time you take four or more words in order from someone else, put quotation marks around them and give the source.

If you have doubts or concerns, bring the draft of your written assignment to me before handing it in.


Reaction papers will be noted on your schedule, unless otherwise announced, they will be due every other week, alternating with quizzes.

Reaction papers should be about the discussion and reading which occurred during the prior class.

Quizzes will be on the reading assigned for that day, and some questions on current events.

Students will be asked to make one oral presentation during the semester on the reading for the day, or a related topic.

An oral presentation on the final paper will be part of the final grade.

Group activities will be unannounced and will be graded an A or an F. Any student who is present and participating in a group activity will receive an A. Any student who is absent will receive an F.

One quiz or reaction paper will be dropped for the final grade.


The Department of Political Science requires that this classroom protocol, defining minimum standards of conduct, be included in all syllabi.

1. Students are expected to attend and be prepared for ALL regularly scheduled classes.

2. Students are expected to arrive on time and stay in class until the class period ends. If a student knows in advance that he/she will need to leave early, he/she should notify the instructor before the class period begins.

3. Students are expected to treat faculty and fellow students with respect. For example, students must not disrupt class by leaving and reentering during class, must not distract class by making noise, and must be attentive to comments being made by the instructors and by peers.

(Schedule is subject to change. There may be one guest lecture that is not during class time.)


Tuesday, August 29
Preview of course
Each student to submit a brief bio to share with the class on Thursday, August 31

Thursday, August 31

Reaction Paper

Reading: The Feminist Papers—pages 3 -15 (introduction), Abigail Adams vs. John Adams.


Tuesday, September 5

Reading: The Feminist Papers, pages, 24-85, Mary Wollstonecraft “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.”

Thursday, September 7


Reading: The Feminist Papers, pages 183-238, John Stuart Mill, “Prestige from the Other Sex.”

Tuesday, September 12

Reading: The Feminist Papers, pages 378-396; 407-458, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Along the Suffrage Trail.”

Thursday, September 14

Reaction Paper

“Votes for Women,” Iron Jawed Angels
Film, starring Hillary Swank

Tuesday, September 19

Reading: The Feminist Papers, pages 517-536, “The Right to One’s Body: Margaret Sanger,”

Thursday, September 21


Film, “From Danger to Dignity,” history of the struggle for legal, safe abortion.


Tuesday, September 26

Reading: The Feminist Papers, pages 615-621; 622-652, “Introduction, Feminism and Intellectual Complexity,” Virginia Woolf,

Thursday, September 28

Reaction Paper

Reading: The Feminist Papers, pages 672-705 Simone de Beauvoir, “The Second Sex.”


Tuesday, October 3

Reading: Tidal Wave, first half of book.

Thursday, October 5

Take Home Quiz
Speaker, Gaye Symington, Democratic Speaker of the Vermont House

Tuesday, October 10

Reading: Tidal Wave, second half of book.

Thursday, October 12

Reaction paper

Guest Speaker, Debbie Walsh, Director, Center for Women in Politics, Eagleton Institute, Rutgers University.

Visit Center for Women in Politics web site

Reading: Living a Political Life, page 1-120, Madeleine Kunin

Tuesday, October 17

Reading: Living a Political Life, pages 121-285, Madeleine Kunin

Thursday, October 19

Reaction Paper

Reading: Finish “Living a Political Life”

Speaker, Carol Bellamy, President, World Learning, former director of UNICEF, and The Peace Corps.

Tuesday, October 24

Reading: Women on Power, pages xi-xxiii, 3-20, forward Jill Ker Conway, Introduction, Sue J.M. Freeman and Susan C. Bourque

Thursday, October 26


Reading: Women on Power, page 84-107, “Political Leadership for Women: Redefining Power and Reassessing the Political.”

Tuesday, October 31

Speaker. Susan Murray, lawyer and advocate for Freedom to Marry Group which lead the way to the Vermont Civil Unions law.

Readings: clippings on civil unions

Thursday, November 2

Reaction Paper

Speaker, Deb Markowitz, Vermont Secretary of State

Reading: Gender and Elections, Chapters 1,2, and 3.

Tuesday, November 7

Reading: Women on Power, pages 114-139, “Leadership, sport and gender.”

Speaker, UVM Women’s Coach: Sharon Dawley, Head Coach Women’s Basketball, UVM

Thursday, November 9

Quiz, if no speaker.

Tentative Speaker, Marie Wilson, “The White House Project,” Organization to Elect a Woman President. Visit web site (

Reading: Gender and Elections, Chapters 4, 5 and 6.

Tuesday, November 14
Reading: Gender and Elections, Chapters 7 and 8.

Thursday, November 16

Reading: Women on Power, pages 199-229, “Knowledge is Power: Our Bodies, Ourselves, and the Boston women’s Health Collective”, pp 149-166.

I will not be in class, but the film, Sisters of ’77 about the First National Women’s Conference in Houston will be shown in class.


Tuesday, November 28
Speaker, Jane Pincus, key author of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Reading: Cooking with Grease, Donna Brazile, first half of book.

Thursday, November 30

No reaction paper or quiz

Reading: Cooking with Grease, Donna Brazile,second half of book..

Tuesday, December 5


Thursday, December 7



Friday, December 15


Class at my home, 9 Harbor Watch, Burlington.
Time to be determined.