Tower Center Symposium | Women in Politics

Presented by Charles and Jane Harrell Pierce

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 (8:00 AM – 3:30 PM)
Meadows Museum (map)


The symposium is designed to explore and discuss women as candidates for elective office in the United States, especially state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.  The panels will discuss questions such as why has progress in recruiting and electing women been so slow and whether there are differences between the national parties in the effort to recruit and elect women.

Agenda & Speakers


Registration & Breakfast


Welcome & Introduction


Opening Address

  • Why do we need more women in politics?

Susannah Wellford Shakow, Running Start


Panel 1– Understanding the Party Gap: Women in the Electoral & Legislative Arena

  • Richard Fox, Loyola Marymount University
  • Tracy Osborn, University of Iowa
  • Barbara Palmer, Baldwin Wallace University
  • Dennis Simon, Southern Methodist University
  • Discussant: TBA

Panel 2– Elections and Partisan Politics, Presenting the Female Candidate and Politician

  • Dianne Bystrom, Iowa State University
  • Sarah Gershon, Georgia State University
  • Sheri Kunovich, Southern Methodist University
  • Jessica Riley, Southern Methodist University
  • Discussant: Ambassador Karen Hughes, Burson-Marsteller

Closing Remarks

  • Is the American experience unique?

Richard Matland, Loyola University, Chicago


Keynote Lunch

  • A True Texas Trailblazer

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

In 1993, Texans elected Kay Bailey Hutchison to the United States Senate in a special election, making her the first – and, to date, the only – woman elected to represent the state in the Senate. One year later, she was re-elected to a full six-year term. In 2000, she was re-elected to a second full term with more votes than any other statewide candidate in Texas history. In 2006, she was again re-elected by an overwhelming margin. Senator Hutchison has served in the Senate leadership, having first been elected Vice-Chairman of the Republican Conference and later elected Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-highest ranking Republican Senator. Senator Hutchison is currently the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science. She has been Chairman of the Military Construction Appropriations Sub-Committee and serves on the Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee.


Closing Reception with Students