Category: From the Experts

A Case for Gender Advisors in Politics

In the industry of political campaigning, new innovative approaches to reach voters pop up all the time. Whether it’s an online targeting tactic or personalized direct mail piece, campaigns are constantly developing new ways to reach voters. Behind these tactics are real people, political strategists who develop the campaign plan. Over a decade ago, when I was first consulting on campaigns, I noticed something troubling; I was often the only woman consultant working on a race. Still today far fewer women are political consultants. As Center for American Women and Politics scholar and Rutgers professor Kelly Dittmar found, men dominate the field, comprising at least three quarters of the industry.

Read More

Embracing Gender: It’s Debatable

After Tuesday night’s debate, Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank posted a glowing review of Hillary Clinton’s performance with the headline “Hillary Clinton towers over her debate rivals.” But, when he tweeted out his piece, Milbank drew from a single line where he called Clinton “a man among boys.” The backlash was swift in the twitterverse, with peers like Soledad O’Brien tweeting to her 409,000 followers: “WTF: ‘She was, in short, a man among boys. And that’s why the debate was so important to Clinton’. *SIGH*”. (O’Brien followed up on her fury with a tweet on Wednesday, noting how much that characterization “pissed her off.”)

Read More

Memo to Women Candidates from Debate Coach Chris Jahnke

Debate Prep Part I: Write Your Playbook Now

Women candidates running for executive posts in 2016 should watch and learn from the first Democratic primary debate. What candidates see and hear from the presidential contenders can jump start their own debate prep regimen. Consider Hillary Clinton, whose experience weathering innumerable attacks on her frontrunner status in 2008 should provide a strategic advantage this week over her opponents.

Read More

What Difference Have Women Made in the Presidential Race? We’re Talking about Feminism.

This presidential cycle marks the first time that women are running for both major party nominations. But the women running are not only making history, they are making change. Symbolically, they are altering the image we hold of who can and should lead the nation, presenting viable alternatives to the distinctly male face of leadership that has occupied the Oval Office to date. Substantively, they bring life experiences to their campaigns and to presidential debates that are not shared by their male counterparts. And the differences between this year’s female contenders remind us that gender diversity is not only that between men and women, but also among women.

Read More

Gender Didn’t “Happen” to Fiorina (or Anyone)

Since her successful second debate performance, Carly Fiorina has risen in the polls and gained greater attention from media and voters. That interest has yielded comparisons between her and the other woman in the race, Hillary Clinton, focusing on differences in their personas, policy positions, and political strategies. Some commentators have praised Carly Fiorina for downplaying her gender while claiming that Hillary Clinton is using her gender in opportunistic and insincere ways.

Read More

The Gender Story I Saw at the GOP Debate

While much of the “gender” dialogue about the latest GOP debate has focused on who said what about women and which women were suggested for the $10 bill, there were gender dynamics threaded throughout both debates in more covert, but pervasive, ways. These dynamics may alter expectations about who can and should lead the nation, so it’s worth paying attention.

Read More

Mainstreaming Gender in Political Campaigns: Clinton’s Case Study

Hillary Clinton officially launched “Women for Hillary” this weekend, prefacing her New Hampshire event with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (the first woman Senator from the state) with outreach to women voters online and via email. That outreach celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Clinton’s 1995 speech at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she stated clearly, “Human rights are women’s rights … and women’s rights are human rights.” Her message was consistent with an idea featured formally at the Beijing meeting to move gender equality to the forefront of policy and political agendas: what the UN has titled “gender mainstreaming.”

Read More

It’s Different When Women Run: Women Who Have Run for President Share What’s Changed and What it Means for 2016

Lessons from past women’s presidential races remain salient for 2016, the first presidential contest featuring prominent women candidates in both major parties. Still front and center: the lack of role models for a woman president; the challenges of raising money; the frequent focus on appearance and image; stereotypes and assumptions that dog even the best-credentialed women.

Read More

Denouncing Trump is the Easy Part – Elevating Gender Dialogue is Harder to Do

For days after the Republican debate, Donald Trump’s sexist comments, candidates’ and pundits’ reactions to them, and forecasts on how they might influence the trajectory of the presidential race dominated the news. Nearly every presidential candidate was been asked about and/or responded to them, with varying degrees of condemnation and denunciation. Even the most conservative pundits – some of whom have been accused of similarly sexist commentary — called out Trump for crossing the line. But what comes next? As the news media moves beyond Trump’s comments about Megyn Kelly, what’s the second-day (or week) story on gender politics in the 2016 presidential race? Will the collective ire evoked toward Trump’s comments elicit any more substantive conversation about the gender realities they made evident? Here are a few ideas for conversations we should be having to elevate the gender dialogue in the race.

Read More

Making Black Women Visible in Presidential Politics: A Conversation About Race, Gender, and Running for the Oval Office

Presidential Gender Watch asked Dr. Niambi Carter, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University and co-author of “Gender and Black Presidential Politics: From Chisholm to Moseley-Braun” (with Paula D. McClain and Michael C. Brady), to weigh in on race, gender, and presidential politics historically and in the 2016 campaign. See our conversation here and share your thoughts in the comments section or on social media.

Read More