Marjorie J. Lansing

(1916 – 1998)

Marjorie J. Lansing, Ph.D., was extraordinarily accomplished in several disciplines. She is perhaps best known and recognized for her co-authorship (with statistician Sandra Baxter) of Women and Politics: The Invisible Majority (1980) and the significantly-revised second edition, Women and Politics: The Visible Majority (1983), described by feminist Gloria Steinem as a “landmark study.” This work introduced the now-famous term, “gender gap.” Dr. Lansing’s history-making book evolved from her doctoral dissertation in 1971 at the University of Michigan Political Science Department. The greatest contribution of Dr. Lansing’s book was that it was the first such study to demonstrate on the basis of statistical analysis of voting patterns that women constituted a distinct voting bloc which differs significantly from men on a number of major social, economic, and political issues. Furthermore, her study and subsequent book demonstrated that women did not simply mimic their husbands or men in general, and could, in fact, be decisive in close elections.

In 1949 Dr. Lansing moved to Ann Arbor and became actively involved with local Democratic Party politics. That early involvement led to other political positions, including: Washtenaw County Democratic Party chairperson (1958-1960); delegate, Democratic National Convention (1960 and 1976); candidate, Board of Regents, University of Michigan (1972); member, Democratic State Central Committee (1972-1974); congressional candidate during the Democratic Primary Election (1974); and member, Washtenaw County Democratic Party Executive Committee (1975).

For 20 years, 1966 to 1986, Dr. Lansing served on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. Not only was she an exceptional scholar, but also an esteemed classroom teacher and leader in departmental and university affairs. Dr. Lansing received the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1972; was cited as an Outstanding Educator in America in 1973; and served from 1971-1972 as Interim Department Head while EMU continued to search to fill the position which she declined in order to pursue her other interests.