Women for President’s Day

What do Victoria Woodhull, Belva Lockwood, Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, Patricia Schroeder, Lenora Fulani, Elizabeth Dole and Carol Moseley Braun have in common? Each of these women ran for the office of President of the United States.

Of course one notable name is missing from that list: the once and possible future candidate Hillary Clinton.

Two UIP books suggest that for Hillary, as well as for the other past female candidates, the road to the presidency is more of an uphill climb than it is for men.

In Women for PresidentErika Falk analyzes the gender bias the media has demonstrated in covering women candidates since the first woman ran for America’s highest office. Tracing the campaigns of nine women who ran for president—from Woodhull in 1872 to Clinton in 2008—Erika Falk finds little progress in the fair treatment of women candidates.

Although Clinton was regarded more seriously than Woodhull may have been, Falk contends that women candidates still are treated very differently.

“My research indicates that women are described physically four times as often as equivalent men who run in the same race,” the author said speaking at The International Museum of Women. “The press gives a lot of attention to what women candidates wear, their hair, and their beauty. The more time the press spends focusing on how women look, the less space there is available for information that might help voters make up their minds.”

With Hillary Clinton in the News, Shawn J. Parry-Giles examines how the press has tried to define and re-define the former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and candidate.

Parry-Giles writes that when Clinton dared to cross traditional gender boundaries and vie for office in her own right, “the news exuded a rhetoric of sexual violence.”

Parry-Giles notes “Whenever Clinton intruded too far into the historically masculine political campaign, the legislative arena, and legal spaces—metaphorically construed as contests of sports and war—her political comportment became most visibly challenged.”


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