Interview assignment


This assignment provides an opportunity to move beyond the standard classroom book/ lecture format by talking to women involved in politics to get a first-hand account of the strategies, struggles, and concerns of women in politics. 


Step 1: Pick a woman in politics to interview. Since we are in Sacramento, state legislators are plentiful. Local officials such as mayors or city council members are another option. Others working downtown, such as legislative staff or council or analysts (LAO) would be good choices as well. First call and ask for an appointment and then conduct an in-person (which I recommend) or telephone interview.


Step 2: Conduct the interview.


Use a tape recorder or take careful notes. Ask the following question – and any others that seem relevant (but are not too personal or likely to make the person uncomfortable!). The general intent is to gather first-hand information about concepts that we have been studying this semester. You don’t need to use this exact wording, as long as you get the gist.


What office or position do you currently hold?


How long have you been involved in politics? In what other capacities?


What motivated you to go into politics or government?


How did you prepare for your current career?


Do you feel like you experienced any particular challenges or obstacles due to your gender?


Do you feel that you need to approach your job or office differently than your male colleagues? How? Why?


Have you encountered any “boys club” sorts of issues in your work?


Do you use strategies or techniques during campaigning or dealings with other officials that may be necessary or expedient due to your gender?


Why do you think women are not as prominent as men in the political arena, even in the year 2009?


Why haven’t we had a female President of the United States?


What advantages do you see for women involved in politics?


Do you feel that women pursue different agendas or issues in the political arena? If so, could you give me some examples?



Step 3: Write the paper.


Write a 5-6 page paper reporting on the results of your interview. The central question is: what insight did this person provide in regards to issues surrounding women in politics? Organize your thoughts and notes such that your ideas flow in a clear manner. Think of yourself as writing in the style of an interview piece in one of the more reputable newspapers or magazines. 


Be sure to proofread and spell check your paper. Enjoy!