Fast Facts

Opportunities

Women candidates do hold some gender-based advantages when running for office.

It’s not all bad news: voters do afford women running for offices advantages not given to men. These advantages give women candidates the opportunity to connect with voters in different ways.

360-Degree Candidate

She sounded like a real person; somebody who’s gone through stuff and actually you know survived it and actually met her goal; reached something and that would lead her to do something about for others, being you know...
Latina, Raleigh

By using all of their experiences and expertise, women have a broader range of opportunities to connect with voters. In earlier election cycles ,women were advised not to share their personal lives, for fear that it would detract from their seriousness and electability. Now, women candidates can effectively use storytelling from their lives or others’ lives to communicate credentials while also connecting with voters. Relatability has evolved, with voters being more willing to take into account less traditional experience in their decision making.


In-Touch

She seemed like she cared about the people and families and the cost.
White Man, Columbus

In the current political environment, the perception that women candidates are more in touch than male candidates is a huge asset. To motivate voters to vote for women candidates, it works to focus on how women elected officials understand what people are experiencing–and that they’re in touch with real life.


Change Agents

Traditionally, women are praised for being more cooperative and bipartisan. Voters are cynical about the state of politics, giving women the chance to press this advantage. A woman candidate’s biggest opportunity to show leadership to voters is being seen as a problem-solver.

She responded well to the questions and she had a solution to the problem and the problem was a real issue for the people in her state that she identified and she noted that she hears from people all the time about it, so I felt like she was connected and she had a solution and she is willing to stand up for it even if there was opposition.”

The Character Pedestal

Voters historically awarded women candidates a virtue advantage, seeing them as more honest and ethical than men. While this perception remains, there are significant partisan differences, with Democratic women running against Republican men being most likely to enjoy an advantage on perceptions of honesty and ethics. Voters who see women as offering unique traits like honesty are more likely to support a woman candidate. Women can maintain this advantage by showcasing integrity, transparency, and consistency.

Words that Describe Women/Men Very Well

Women’s Issues

Voters are adamant that a woman elected official would be more likely to protect women’s health issues, access to birth control and contraception, reproductive health issues, Social Security and Medicare, and education. Being good on education and healthcare can help women candidates be seen as good on the economy. Women can harness the advantages they have on these typically women’s issue as well as kitchen-table economics, to connect with voters.