One of the challenging things for those who study gender politics and women candidates in American elections is answering the question “Is that sexist?” Political campaigns are rough and tumble affairs and do not always show people – voters, elected officials, candidates – as their best selves. So when we experience political campaigns in which women candidates take part and we analyze a particular situation, we are often left wondering whether something was sexist or not.
The gravity of last night’s formal nomination of the first woman candidate for president was not lost on those in the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. As each state cast their delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention, many delegates mentioned the history being made to put a woman on the top of the presidential ballot. The vote was kicked off by the first woman elected to the United States Senate in her own right, Barbara Mikulski, who recalled the progress women have made when she said, “It is with a full heart that I am here today to nominate Hillary Clinton as the first woman president.” Jerry Emmett, 102-year old delegate, cast Arizona’s votes for Clinton with similar joy, celebrating the history made within her own lifetime – from women winning the right to vote when she was just six years old to seeing a woman poised to sit in the White House that suffragists picketed nearly one hundred years ago. But Senator Mikulski also reminded those in the arena and at home that the work to elect women to political office does not stop at the Oval Office door. “It was the Founding Mothers who said, ‘Do not forget the ladies or they will foment a revolution!’ ,” she recalled, adding, “They started the job, but we’re going to keep it going.”
Last Friday, we did a preliminary count of the Republican National Convention’s speakers by gender, finding that women were 32 percent of announced speakers. However, by our count, there were 111 speakers over the RNC’s four days, not counting invocations, benedictions, or narrative videos. Of those 111 speakers, 31 – or 28 percent – were women; 80 – or 72 percent – were men.
Over the past week, the Democratic National Committee has released three different lists of convention speakers. Combining all of them, they include 46 women and 75 men. Women are three-quarters of headliners, when all seven “Mothers of the Movement” – speaking on Tuesday night –are included in the count.
As we enter the general election, Presidential Gender Watch is launching #GenderWatchSyllabus, a campaign to gather and share resources from gender and politics experts to help understand gender dynamics in the 2016 presidential race. Over the next few weeks, we will share sources recommended by scholars to provide greater depth, nuance, and clarity to the myriad ways in which gender is at play in this election – for candidates and voters. Please stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter accounts for regular updates, which will culminate in a comprehensive #GenderWatchSyllabus heading into fall 2016.
In a recent interview with WRKC-Ohio, Donald Trump touted his success in winning over women voters – “Our numbers are starting to get very strong” – and dominating among men – “Our numbers with men are through the roof. I mean, they’re like record-setting numbers.” But how do Trump’s latest poll numbers match up to his claims? How has he fared in recent polls when compared to Hillary Clinton and matched against historical precedent? We took a look at national polls of registered voters since then end of this year’s primaries through this weekend (June 7 – July 17) to check.
Since 1992, Mattel has released presidential Barbies. This year, in a partnership with She Should Run, Mattel didn’t stop at presidential Barbie: there’s a vice-presidential Barbie, too. Two women running for the two highest offices in the United States? And they’re dressed in sensible work attire (not in a ball gown like 1992 presidential Barbie)? Sold. But there are a few things Barbie should know before launching her campaign.
The Republican National Committee released a list of 62 speakers for its convention next week and we reviewed it for gender diversity. Of the 62 speakers listed, 20 are women. They include two women senators (Joni Ernst-IA & Shelley Moore Capito-WV), two attorneys general (Leslie Rutledge-AR & Pam Bondi-FL), Governor Mary Fallin (OK), and U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (TN). RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day and Alex Smith, the National Chair of the College Republicans, will also speak.
This weekend, the New York Times published a report on Hillary Clinton’s plans for her first 100 days in office, relying on interviews with advisors, friends, and campaign insiders. Among the top goals mentioned was a plan to “tap women to make up half of her cabinet.” While reference to this plan for gender parity did not come directly from Clinton, she has described it as a goal in multiple interviews to date. In April, when asked by Cosmopolitan if she would commit to having at least 50% women in her cabinet, she answered: “That is certainly my goal. A very diverse Cabinet representing the talents and experience of the entire country. And since we are a 50-50 country, I would aim to have a 50-50 Cabinet.” A few weeks later, Rachel Maddow asked Clinton a similar question, and she reaffirmed that, “”I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women, right?”