Category: Analysis

On the Bias – May 22, 2015


The mission of Presidential Gender Watch 2016 is to track, analyze, and illuminate gender dynamics in election 2016. Those gender dynamics include, but are not limited to, evidence of gender bias in perceptions, media coverage, or candidate behavior. As we explain in our FAQs, we plan to examine the presence, claims and impact of sexism, recognizing variance in how it is defined, measured, and/or applied to or by candidates, voters, or media. We will rely upon scholarship on gender bias to provide a thoughtful framework for analysis, recognizing that there are no universal rules for what is or is not sexist. As part of this task, we will post a bi-weekly On the Bias to identify potential examples of bias and place them within the context of research, precedence, and comparative treatment of male and female candidates. In this first installment, we will identify cases of potential gender bias over the past month’s presidential election coverage.

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2016 Outlook: #BlackWomenLead on the Road to 2016

The road to 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting journey. This week, Carly Fiorina officially joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for president. As America ponders if we are “ready” for a woman president, the road to 2016 and beyond provides a unique opportunity to harness women’s political and economic power to elevate women’s voices in important debates and impact this election in a significant way, including supporting and electing more women.

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2016 Outlook: On Guard Against “Lesser than…”

There is an often-told story among women leaders about a common experience they have had in meetings where men significantly outnumber women. Maybe you have heard it. It goes like this: the team or committee is grappling with a problem and everyone is chiming in, offering different approaches and solutions. One of the two or three women present tosses out an idea, but the conversation continues. A few minutes later, one of the men repeats her idea and the group seizes on it as the way to go.

What causes the team to hear him, but not her? Did his deeper voice command reflexive respect? Was he a larger presence, physically or emotionally, or both? Did he speak with more authority?

It’s impossible to know exactly. Yet, it seems clear that a woman with a good idea was treated as “lesser than” the guy who subsequently succeeds with her idea. It also seems to be true that the whole group, women and men alike, discount her.

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2016 Outlook: When and Where Will Gender Matter?

Nearly all voters say they are open to a woman president and two-thirds say America is ready for a woman president, but most voters tell pollsters that gender will not play a significant role in how they cast their vote. Of course a candidate’s gender will play a role on some level, whether voters are aware of it or not. However, party is far more important than gender as a vote determinant. Even within their party, women voters do not necessarily line up behind the female candidate.
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The Power of Two: Women Candidates in the 2016 Presidential Race

CEKFvkHWIAAh_6pThis morning, Carly Fiorina officially launched her candidacy for president with an online video, website, and announcement on Good Morning America. In her launch video, she states, “We know the only way to re-imagine our government is to re-imagine who is leading it,” contrasting her role as a political outsider to Hillary Clinton’s membership in the “professional political class.” However, Fiorina and Clinton share some characteristics this cycle. They both have the potential to make history as the first female major party nominees or winners in a U.S. presidential contest. But they don’t have to wait until the results come in to break another barrier for women and the presidency. With both women in the race, 2016 will be the first presidential cycle in which there is a woman vying for the nomination in each major party. In fact, the only other presidential cycle in which more than one woman was a major party primary candidate was in 1972, when Shirley Chisholm and Patsy Mink competed for the Democratic nomination.

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2016 Outlook: Gender Bias, Media, and the Cause for Concern in Presidential Politics

At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 25, “Saturday Night Live” comedian Cecily Strong – the first woman to host the event in 20 years – created a memorable moment when she asked all members of the media in the ballroom to raise their hands and vow: “I solemnly swear not to talk about Hillary’s appearance, because that is not journalism.”

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