Campus News

Janet Martin Wins Prestigious Award for Book on the Presidency

Presidency and Women
The Presidency and Women: Promise, Performance, and Illusion (2003)

Story posted September 17, 2004

The Richard E. Neustadt Award For the Best Book on the Presidency is among the most prestigious awards recognizing scholarly contributions to political science in the nation. Presented by the American Political Science Association (APSA), past winners have included the likes of Robert Shapiro and Fred Greenstein.

Bowdoin College now counts a Neustadt award-winner among its ranks: Bowdoin Professor of Government Janet M. Martin was presented the 2004 Neustadt Award at APSA's annual meeting in Chicago earlier this month.

Martin's 2003 book, The Presidency and Women: Promise, Performance, and Illusion (Texas A & M University Press), was commended as a "wonderfully rich study...that makes it clear that presidents and their aides often substituted unfulfilled promises and symbolic actions for policies and programs that would have led to greater progress for women."

"It's rare for a political scientist from a small liberal arts college to win a major national book prize," acknowledged Martin. "One wouldn't normally have the resources to engage in a new project of extensive original research."

Martin researched the work over a decade, first examining the symbolism and rhetoric associated with the appointment of women to high-level positions, and the impact of an increasing number of women appointed to positions in the executive branch from 1961 to 1981. Her examination broadened to become a narrative of the evolution of women's issues, how these issues were dealt with by presidential administrations, and the role of women in each administration.

As manager of the federal government, the president has had the most direct control over the opening up of employment opportunities for women within the federal government through appointive and career positions. Martin's research demonstrates that, despite an increase of women as advisers to the president, many of the same issues discussed in the final report of President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women in 1963 remain on the national agenda - equal pay, child care, tax credits in support of child care, health care for all children, social security protection for women, and broadened educational opportunities.

Martin is a former APSA Congressional Fellow and has worked as a legislative assistant for Senator Herb Kohl from Wisconsin and Maine's Senator George Mitchell. She is also author of Lessons from the Hill: The Legislative Journey of an Education Program (St. Martin's Press, 1994), and co-editor of The Other Elites: Women, Politics, and Power in the Executive Branch (Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1997).

Research for the book was supported, in part, by grants from the Ford, Kennedy, and Johnson Presidential Library Foundations, as well as an APSA grant and funds from the William R. Keenan Jr. Fellowship for Faculty Development and the Bowdoin Faculty Development Fund.

For a full feature story on The Presidency and Women visit

« Back | Campus News | Academic Spotlight | | Subscribe to Bowdoin News by Email