Nearly 1 in 3 countries globally has elected a female head of state or government; the United States is not one of them. There is great potential for this statistic to transform in 2016. With Hillary Clinton’s announcement on April 12 and Carly Fiorina entering the race on May 4, it may finally be possible for the glass ceiling to come crashing down. While there is much to be determined in the next year, there are a few things we at Parity know already:

  • We expect that a woman sitting in the Oval Office will spur other females across the country to pursue leadership positions, as we found in our Twin States: A Multiplier Effect research.
  • A female Republican in the Oval Office would be a major step towards closing the GOP gender gap and could provide more support to Clearing the Primary Hurdles for future women candidates.
  • When women run, women win. Read our Shifting Gears report to find out more.

Stay tuned in and engage with Parity as we write, research, analyze and gather thought leaders from both sides of the aisle to create a more reflective and effective democracy.



What Will It Take to Make A Woman President?

In her new book, author Marianne Schnall poses this question to leading political experts. Their responses are enlightening, engaging, and reflective of society’s evolving stance on female leadership and power. Read the book, listen to excerpts, and learn what it will take to finally send a woman to the White House.

  Follow Marianne  

LISTEN TO EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEWS

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Reflections, Research, and Resources

Though the US has yet to elect a female president, many pioneering women have blazed a campaign trail toward the Oval Office. Learn more about these inspiring candidates and the organizations committed to electing our nation’s first woman president. Learn more >>

FURTHER READING

In It to Win: Electing Madam President

Lori Cox Han | 2015

Drawing on an analysis of female candidates of the presidency in past elections, Lori Cox Han lays out how a woman can finally break the hardest and most persistent glass ceiling in US politics: the presidency.

Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture

Kristina Horn Sheeler | 2013

The authors discuss the role of political and popular culture in female campaigns for the presidency. They argue that a consistent backlash against female candidates continues to exist.

Big Girls Don’t Cry

Rebecca Traister | 2011

Big Girls Don’t Cry offers an appraisal of the 2008 presidential campaign and its transformative nature for American women and the nation. The campaign for the presidency reopened conversations about gender, race, generational difference, sexism, and feminism.

Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: What It Will Take for a Woman to Win

Anne E. Kornblut | 2011

Written by White House correspondent Anne Kornblut, this books takes an intimate look at the 2008 campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Interviewing high profile women on the issue such as Speaker Pelosi or Condoleezza Rice, she shows that we still overlook important barriers to women’s access to the presidency, barriers that continue to exists and are extremely hard to overcome.

Hillary Clinton's Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail

Regina G. Lawrence and Melody Rose | 2010

This book considers women's access to the presidency, with a focus on Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign. Historical background is provided on gender and the media’s influence on presidential elections, and the authors speculate about the likelihood of electing a woman to the presidency in the future.

Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns

Erika Falk | 2010

Women for President investigates the media coverage of female presidential candidates going back to 1872 when Victoria Woodhull first ran for office. The author argues that not much has changed when media covers female candidates, emphasizing their appearance over their ideas and vision while at the same time not considering female candidates serious contenders for the presidency.

The Motherless State: Women’s Political Leadership and American Democracy

Eileen McDonagh | 2009

American women attain more professional success than most of their counterparts around the world, but they lag surprisingly far behind in the national political arena. The Motherless State reveals why the United States differs from comparable democracies, several of which routinely elect far more women to their national governing bodies and chief executive positions.

Rethinking Madam President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House?

Lori Cox Han | 2007

Rethinking Madam President offers a critical assessment of the inroads made by female candidates into the previously male bastion of electoral success. The authors tackle a range of provocative issues: the conflation of the presidency with masculinity; the media’s focus, even today, on the novelty of a female candidate; public support for women that often evaporates in the voting booth; and more.

INTERNATIONAL

Shattered, Cracked, or Firmly Intact?: Women and the Executive Glass Ceiling Worldwide

Farida Jalalzai | 2013

Farida Jalalzai, the leading expert on women in executive office, addresses two main questions: how do the pathways to executive office differ for men and women and once in office, what kind of impact do women leaders have? Looking at cases around the world, she finds that some countries no longer have a glass ceiling (Finland), others have cracked the ceiling (UK), and in some it remains firmly in place (US).

Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women's Campaigns for Executive Office

Rainbow Murray | 2010

Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling looks beyond the US to understand what roles gender stereotypes play in presidential campaign. It includes chapters on Hillary Rodham Clinton (United States, 2008), Sarah Palin (United States, 2008), Angela Merkel (Germany, 2005 and 2009), SégolËne Royal (France, 2007), Helen Clark (New Zealand, 1996-2008), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina, 2007), Michelle Bachelet (Chile, 2006), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia, 2005), and Irene Sáez (Venezuela, 1998).

FOR KIDS

Grace for President

Kelly S. DiPucchio | 2012

After she learns that no woman has ever been President, Grace decides she wants to become the first. Grace for President teaches children about the American electoral system by having Grace run for president in her school’s mock election.

Madam President

Lane Smith | 2008

A little girl dreams about what she would do if she were President for one day.

If I Were President

Catherine Stier | 1999

Explore the role of the Presidency in the US through the eyes of six children of various racial backgrounds. If I Were President offers a great introduction to the American political system.

Additional Resources