Dissertation Project

Margaret’s dissertation is a study of how women’s organizations frame public opinion and political behavior, with an aim of providing a cohesive understanding of how women navigate political spaces of opportunity and oppression differently across intersectional identities. This dissertation project draws on a set of experimental studies and a qualitative project of organizational leaders to examine the effects of framing among women’s advocacy organizations along racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, and class dimensions. At a time when the “me too movement” is most visible, this project focuses on the issue of sexual violence, examining how organizations frame this issue differently to the public, their constituents, and political actors—and to what extent this framing maps on to political behaviors and strategies that advocate against sexual violence. By focusing on how women’s organizations frame themselves differently according to the identity groups of women they represent, this work clarifies why these groups utilize the political strategies that they do as they attempt to reconfigure political institutions against sexual violence. This project makes substantial inroads in how political scientists study women as political actors, and how organizations work within the bounds of the state differently to advance frames and public policies that vary based on their intersectional positionality.

Gender & Policy

Margaret with Jamila Michener created a dataset of social and economic policies affecting women; together they conducted an analysis of the impact of these policies on women’s economic positionality by race, ethnicity, and employment status. This analysis can be found in their paper “Race, Gender and Economic Inequality in the United States: A Policy Centered Approach” which will be published in Daedalus this coming year in 2020.  

Race & Place

Margaret with Cathy Cohen and David Knight developed a qualitative project together to study the ways in which the urban city of Chicago structured the political lives of young adults differently by class, race and ethnicity. In this project they focus on how neighborhood borders and experiences with the city of Chicago create different opportunities, constraints, and access to power for young people. They produced a public report with top-level analyses that was published and disseminated widely in the Chicago area. Margaret is currently working with Cathy Cohen and David Knight on scholarly papers related to this project; they are currently working papers.

Colleges & Democracy

Margaret with Nancy Thomas led a large scale, national qualitative project on college student political learning and engagement in democracy. Margaret led the processes for developing the study, conducting data collection and analyzing interview data with over 500 participants across the country. Margaret and Nancy were able to publish this research in multiple outlets: book chapters, journals, and scholarly articles. Margaret also was part of an effort to create a national database of student voting called the National Study for Learning Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), which is the first national dataset of college student voting. With Nancy and Jodi Benenson Margaret wrote a book chapter analyzing some of the data from this voting project. 


  • Michener, J. & Brower, Margaret T. (2019). Race, Gender and Economic Inequality in the United States: A Policy Centered Approach. Daedalus, [forthcoming].