Maternity and Members of Congress: Understanding the Effects of Maternity on a Woman's Political Career and Career Timeline in the United States

Document Type


Publication Date



Political Science


In the United States, women in Congress typically have the peak of their career be substantially before or after having children. It is very rare for women to be pregnant during their time in Congress thus portraying the idea that women must choose between a successful career or being a mother. The likelihood of a women being pregnant or becoming a mother decreases the likelihood of them running for congress. In the United States, maternity plays a large role in a woman's political career through the timeline, maternity leave, and society's idea of being a working mother. Through my research, I compare the United States and Sweden on this topic. I want to examine how many women in the Sweden government are mothers and what the societal view is on this issue. While examining the maternity leave curriculum from Sweden, I also review the maternity leave standard for the U.S. Congress. I want to showcase the barriers of motherhood and a successful career. The project will be an overview of how children affect a woman's career - especially if her career is a political one.

First Advisor

Julia Hellwege

Research Area

Political Science

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