Navigating Political Science as a Woman

Navigating Political Science as a Woman

By Diana Z. O’BrienRice University

How do you succeed in academia? Since taking a faculty position, I have thought a lot about this question. Since earning tenure, I have had the opportunity to participate in workshops and discussions with women graduate students that focus on the unique experiences of women political scientists. To prepare for these workshops, I collected advice based on both research and insights from successful women academics. This article summarizes some of the best advice on building support structures, producing research, and navigating service obligations. A complete and evolving list of suggestions on these issues and related topics—including teaching, mental health concerns, and confronting harassment—is on my website (

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