NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement on April 12 makes her the first woman to throw her hat into the ring for a major-party presidential nomination in 2016. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, is likely to make a similar announcement soon. For the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), these are just the next steps on the long path that will some day lead to the nation’s first woman president.
“Women’s road to the White House began almost 150 years ago when in 1872 Victoria Woodhull presented herself as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party,” noted CAWP director Debbie Walsh. “CAWP has been tracking women’s political progress since 1971, watching as women achieved historic firsts and expanded their numbers at all levels of office. We stand ready to provide facts, context and analysis that illuminate women’s pursuit of power at the highest levels.”
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Walsh added, “As always, we’ll be tracking women candidates at the state legislative, statewide and congressional levels, but in this election cycle, we’ll be following two interrelated stories: how women fare, and how gender plays across the election stage.”With that broader focus on gender in mind, CAWP and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation have launched Presidential Gender Watch 2016, a nonpartisan project to track, analyze, and illuminate gender dynamics in the 2016 presidential election. The new initiative’s website is now available at presidentialgenderwatch.org. It includes a brief history of women who have run for the presidency, from Woodhull to the present.
According to Walsh, “As we look at the upcoming election, each individual candidate – female or male – is a piece of the gender puzzle, but so are the media, the political strategists, and the voters. Between now and Inaugural Day 2017, there will be countless events, analyses, stories, debates, polls, and encounters between voters and candidates. Gender is apt to figure, to some degree, in most of these.”
The Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is a university-based research, education and public service center. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women’s changing relationship to politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life. CAWP is a leading authority in its field and a respected bridge between the academic and political worlds.