The candidates for the 2020 presidential election are filing into place and there are more women in the running then there has ever been before. But is the United States ready for a female president? Women from three states aren’t so sure that the time is right for a woman to sit in the White House.
Wendy McVey, a 20-year-old junior at Iowa State University, said in an interview with The Associated Press: “I want to be for a woman, but it’s just hard when you see a lot of other people not supporting women yet. I feel that America’s just not there yet.” Currently, McVey is most interested in seeing what Beto O’Rourke is going to do.
Women predominantly make up the Democratic Party’s most engaged and energetic voters. In fact, they accounted for more than half of the electorate in the 2018 midterms. Last year, Democrats elected a historic number of women to Congress last year, and now, there is a record number of women running for president. Among the women running, are Sens. Kamala Harris from California, Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand from New York.
Unfortunately, the Oval Office has stayed out of reach of women in the past. Because of this, and the fact that the Democrats so badly want Trump out of the White House, many Democrats are nervous about choosing the right nominee, and rightfully so. Some of them fear that the same thing will happen in 2020 that it did when Hillary lost to Trump in 2016. Other Democrats point to their own experiences with discrimination and sexism.
Katrina Riley, a 69-year-old woman from Summerville, South Carolina, said in an interview with the AP: “I think a lot of people voted for him because they didn’t want to vote for her. And I don’t want that to happen again.” While 52-year-old Helen Holden from New Hampshire said: “I fear for that with women, that it’s, ‘Well, we had our chance. We had Hillary. Hillary didn’t pan out. Best to just pick another 65-year-old plus white guy who has the best chance of winning.’”
According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2018, 76% of women said that the main reason why there are more men in office is that women have to do more in order to prove themselves. 57% of women say they believe that American wasn’t ready to have a female president, while 60% of women said they believe that gender discrimination is a major issue at hand.
It’s no secret that older white men control most of the Democratic polls. Former Vice President Joe Biden is 76, while Senator Bernie Sanders is 77. While they are younger white men, O’Rourke and Buttigieg are adored by the public, even though they have less political experience that many of the women running in the race to the White House.
The former president for Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, said: “I feel like we ourselves have lived in a country where women’s power and leadership has been so absent. I think it’s hard even for women to imagine a future of real equity but I think that time has come.” Jennifer Palmieri, who advised Clinton’s campaign in 2016, encouraged women to “not be scared of the 2016 phantoms.” Palmieri continued by saying: “Women voters who want to support a woman candidate should not overthink this but have courage of their convictions and believe in their power to make a difference. That’s what women did in 2018 and look what happened.”
Considering what happened during the election in 2016, Clinton has stated that she believes that misogyny and sexism add to her loss of the election. Many of the women in the 2020 race are concerned with those issues, as well. “If you ask the question, is there gender bias in America today? Absolutely. Is there gender bias in every industry? Absolutely. But I think for each of us, we can overcome it,” said Gillibrand.
On Friday, Warren spoke to a crowd at an event in Tipton, Iowa. At the event, Warren explained that when she speaks to her colleagues in the Senate, they tell her campaign platform is “asking for too much.” She’s also been told: “Don’t ask for such hard things. Smile more,” which is often said to women in a position of power. Of course, the crowd responded with groans and boos.