Republican Governor John Kasich launched his presidential campaign this morning, joining 15 other Republicans and 5 Democrats in seeking the nation’s highest office. With announcements coming on a regular basis, it’s hard to generate interest in yet another man joining the race. In fact, the more interesting story has become the high number of candidates itself. As Larry Sabato has noted, this year’s election already has a record number of candidates for any one party (Republicans). However, there is an interesting gender story to tell as the candidate list grows. Yes, this campaign marks the first time we have women candidates running for both major party nominations. But, those women – Hillary Clinton (D) and Carly Fiorina (R) – represent just 9.5% of all major party presidential contenders. Of course, Clinton’s status as a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is incredibly important. Still, I find it hard to believe that women represent less than ten percent of the talent pool in the presidential pipeline.
In this edition of On the Bias, we highlight reminders of the dominance of masculinity in expectations for and evaluations of presidential candidates, including references to candidate sexuality. We review the ways in which questions about integrity may affect women differently than men, and analyze commentary of this cycle’s female candidates that paint them as protectors or victims.
Presidential Gender Watch asked Dr. Leanne Doherty, author of Level Playing Field for All? Female Political Leadership and Athletics, to weigh in on how last weekend’s 2015 World Cup win relates to presidential politics in the 2016 campaign. See our conversation here and share your thoughts in the comments section or on social media.