The Gender Revolution that Wasn't: Clinton and the History of Female Candidates

Women in politics have come a long way—when Hillary Clinton started her political career, women weren't allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor—but gender equality in the political arena remains elusive.

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Media Outlet: VICE

Jay Newton-Small wrote for the VICE about the history of female presidents:

This campaign was supposed to be historic: electing the first female president. Finally, women's moment to rule. The data seemed to support the inevitability of this momentous occurrence; in the final days of the campaign, Washington had decided that Hillary Clinton's firewall was white, college-educated voters: Donald Trump was losing them to Clinton by a whopping 27 percentage points. Given that women voters have swung every election since Ronald Reagan and tend to vote, on average, ten percentage points more than men, the election must have been in the bag for Clinton, right?
Wrong. The day after the election, facing the prospect of President-elect Trump, many Clinton supporters seemed stunned. Instead of electing the first candidate to run on a pro-woman platform, a majority of white, female voters had cast their vote for a man accused of sexual assault more than a dozen times, whose record with women read like the transcript from a high school boy's locker room.
Despite the disparaging pre-election belief that women would be "voting with their vaginas," the female electorate has never been a singular, unified force, something the exit polls made obvious: While 94 percent of black women and 68 percent of Latina voters supported Clinton, only 43 percent of white, female voters had cast their ballots for the first woman candidate.
 

Author:

Jay Newton-Small was a Class of 2016 & 2017 New America Fellow researching Alzheimer’s disease and end of life care. She is a correspondent for TIME magazine and author of Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way Washington Works.