Do girls run the world?

This week, UT's Department of Political Science will host the Women in Politics conference in the Toyota Auditorium of the Howard H. Baker Center. Beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, the two-day event will open academic discussion of women's roles in political positions and place females front and center.

Jana Morgan, associate professor in political science and chair member of the Latin American and Caribbean studies, has played a key role in organizing the event, with the financial support of the Arts and Sciences and the Women's Studies program.

Morgan noted that Mayor Madeline Rogero offered to open the event.

"The college and I were talking about shared interests with women in politics," Morgan said. "Our speakers are academics with cutting edge research on gender and politics and study the role of women around the world that bring different perspectives and expertise."

Morgan herself will participate in Thursday's roundtable discussion alongside fellow speakers Sarah Fulton of Texas A&M University, Melanie Hughes of the University of Pittsburgh, Tracy Osborn of the University of Iowa, and Leslie Schwindt-Bayer of Rice University.

"We will discuss the presence of women in legislatures around the world," Morgan said. "We want to highlight how women actually influence and shape politics and have a voice in the process.

"We hope this event brings together different women's groups on campus, and, in communicating, learn about the voice women have in politics and working towards strengthening that voice."

The Friday portion of the event will consist of an academic conference featuring other noted scholars.

"There will be over six academics presenting research on women's participation in political processes from U.S. to Bolivia," Morgan said. "The conversation between academics on their finding will allow them to make their arguments stronger as they share their academic interests."

Sarah Fulton, assistant professor in political science at Texas A&M University, will present her own research and findings.

"My research looks at if women do as well as men with vote share and winning elections," she said. "I focus on the variations in characteristics that voters ... intrinsically value: experience, integrity, competence (and) ability."

The event, Fulton believes, represents more than a chance to share research findings; it's a chance to raise the visibility of women in academia.

"It's really important for women scholars to support other women scholars," Fulton said. "Women need to network within the academic community and mentor one another, but there are few opportunities to do this.

"By facilitation conversation we can discuss common problems and theories and learn about applicable theories from other fields."

For more information, click here.