We so often hear voters hedge that they’ll vote for a “qualified” woman. In focus groups, voters explained that some people only want to vote for “qualified” women because a perception remains that women have to work harder and do more to achieve the same goals as men.
Women have to prove they are qualified. For men, their qualification is assumed. In other words, women have to prove themselves from day one.
The most important traits to convey that a woman is qualified include being honest, standing up for what is right, being knowledgeable, getting results, being confident, being organized, having a vision, and being in touch. To help a woman appear most qualified, it works to show she:
- Brings Democrats and Republicans together to get things done
- “Stands up” in a debate
- Starts the campaign with a listening tour
- Pulls herself up by her bootstraps
- Answers tough questions from a reporter
- Issues an economic plan
Some of these examples are a matter of changing the words women use to convey women’s strengths as leaders. For instance, rather than illustrating how a woman candidate has worked across the aisle, it is more effective to show how a candidate brought men and women or Democrats and Republicans together to get results.
Using action-oriented language also helps convey that a woman candidate is qualified. Women must show they take action. For example, consider action phrases, such as:
- Started a successful business
- Refused to back down
- Answered tough questions
- Led an initiative