Melanie M. Hughes, PhD


2611 Wesley W. Posvar Hall


My primary interests lie in the study of gender and politics across countries. I have published numerous articles on the topic in journals such as American Sociological Review, American Political Science Review, and Social Forces. I also coauthored a book titled Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective, now in its Third Edition (CQ Press, January 2016). I am particularly interested in the ways that gender intersects with other forces of marginalization to influence women’s political power. My new book manuscript investigates the political dominance of men from racial, ethnic, and religious majority groups worldwide.  I am Deputy Editor of Gender & Society, a top-ranked journal in both sociology and women's studies.  I also work hard to connect my research to policymakers, practitioners, and the public. In 2013, I taught at a high-level policy seminar at the European University Institute. I have been collaborating with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to increase the availability of data on gender equality in political leadership and public administration. I also appeared in a 2014 documentary on the political socialization of girls called Raising Ms. President.  

Fields of Interest

  • Gender & Politics
  • Intersectionality
  • Transnational Political Sociology
  • Quantitative Methods


  • PhD, The Ohio State University, 2008

Inter-Organizational Relations in Transnational Environmental and Women’s Activism” with Jackie Smith and Samantha Plummer

“Armed Conflict and Gender Equality in Public Administration” with Müge Finkel

“Democracy and Women’s Political Leadership in Economically Developing Countries” with Brittany Duncan and Milad Pournik

Explaining the Persistent Overrepresentation of Majority Men in Politics Worldwide (book manuscript)

Hughes, Melanie M., Pamela Paxton, and Mona Lena Krook. 2017. “Gender Quotas for Legislatures and Corporate Boards.” Annual Review of Sociology 43:331–52.

Paxton, Pamela and Melanie M. Hughes. 2016. Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective, 3rd Edition. CQ Press.

Hughes, Melanie M. and Lisa D. Brush. 2015. “The Price of Protection: A Trajectory Analysis of Civil Remedies for Abuse and Women’s Earnings.” American Sociological Review 80(1):140‒165. (Profiled by The Atlantic, Jezebel, The Nation, National Public Radio, The New York Times, and US News and World Report)

Hughes, Melanie M., Mona Lena Krook, and Pamela Paxton. 2015. “Transnational Women’s Activism and the Global Diffusion of Gender Quotas.” International Studies Quarterly. Published online March 12. doi:10.1111/isqu.12190.

Hughes, Melanie M. and Aili Mari Tripp. 2015. “Civil War and Trajectories of Change in Women’s Political Representation in Africa, 1985-2010.” Social Forces 93 (4): 1513-1540. Published online February 12. doi:10.1093/sf/sov003.

Comparative Perspectives on Women (SOC 1333)

Capstone Research Practicum (SOC 1500)

Graduate Quantitative Methods (SOC 2202)

Social Research Methods (SOC 0230)

Sociology of Gender (SOC 0446)

2017-19. Central Research Development Fund. “Armed Conflict and Gender Equality in Public Administration” with co-PI Müge Finkel, $16,000.

2013-16 National Science Foundation. “Transnational Networks amid Global Crisis and Change” with co-PI Jackie Smith. SES-1323130, $172,795.

2014 Carrie Chapman Prize for Research on Women and Politics. Honorable Mention.

2010-13 National Science Foundation. “Measuring International Nongovernmental Organizations and World Polity Network Embeddedness” with co-PI Pamela Paxton. SES-09620 and SES-1067218. $214,909.