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Dear Amy,

My name is Jeff, and I am a final year undergraduate student at the University of Birmingham in England. I am currently researching for a paper on women and the American Presidency.

For part of my paper, I would like to assess the 'Critical Mass' theory, whereby psychologists believe that once women reach positions of leadership between 15-25%, stereotypes will start to be overcome. I am struggling to find past and present statistics on women and leadership in America so was wondering if you had figures or could direct me to figures showing the percentage of women in leadership positions in business, the media, law and medicine.

Thank you very much for your help, it is greatly appreciated.

Kindest Regards,



Jeff --

I think the theory you are working with is great, but something else also happens. Once that critical mass reaches more than 60/70% female, the thing becomes devalued -- so it seems that there is a delicate balance of tipping the scales and then tipping them back.

I would try groups like Catalyst, The White House Project, American Association of University Women, etc.... They all focus on women in leadership and thus might have concrete studies to point you to.

Good luck,

-- Amy