Learning With: ‘“A Woman, Just Not That Woman”: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail’

Learning With: ‘“A Woman, Just Not That Woman”: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail’

Before reading the article:

Draw what you think an effective president looks like. You can make a stick figure, if that feels most comfortable, but in your drawing, include words that describe the appearance, qualities and behaviors of a leader.

Now, read the article, “‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail,” and answer the following questions:

1. According to the article, what are some of the stereotypes and double standards female candidates face when running for political office?

2. “For 20 years, we’ve heard participants in our focus groups say they would vote for a woman, just not that woman,” said Amanda Hunter, research and communications director at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which supports women in politics. Why is that statement being put to the test in the 2020 presidential primary?

3. How is “likability” influenced by gender bias? Give one example from the article to support your answer.

4. What are some of the assumptions voters make about female candidates? How do voters respond when women try to defy those stereotypes?

5. What are some of the ways female candidates are judged differently than male candidates on their appearance? How do these judgments affect voters’ perceptions of them as leaders?

6. Why is women’s representation in government crucial for the future success of female candidates?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

In the past few months, five Democratic women currently serving in Congress have announced they are running for president in 2020. Choose one or more of these three videos to watch, each featuring one of these women: Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.

Do you think the politician featured in the video you watched might make an effective president, based on the criteria you described above? Why or why not? Does the candidate’s gender in any way affect your answer?

What is your biggest takeaway from this article? How can you apply this information to your own life? How might it help you better assess the leadership abilities of the girls and boys or women and men that you know?