Women and the Presidency

Lacey Joseph, Senior Reporter


Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president.   Before she was nominated as a candidate in 1872, she was an American leader of the women’s suffrage movement. Woodhull was an activist for women’s rights and labor reforms, she was also an advocate of ‘free love’ which meant the freedom to marry, divorce, and bear children. Woodhull’s first fortune was called a ‘magnetic healer’. A few days before the election, Woodhull was arrested on obscenity charges.   There where an alleged adulterous affair between the prominent minister Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Richards Tilton which had more detail than was considered proper at the time. This added to the sensational coverage of her candidacy. While Woodhull was running many unsubstantiated rumors were circulated about her, a common one being she was a prostitute.

Victoria Woodhull is far from the only female candidate that has had to deal with rumor and innuendo. Hilary Clinton had a similar experience going into the 2016 election. While Clinton was running there were various rumors she had slept with people to gain her success, even lesbian rumors surfaced in some of the conservative blogsites.

Legeci Renae, a senior in Leadership 2 attending Rex Putnam High School believes, “A woman running is a great advancement for women, and we need more women in the office.” Renae states, “ Women do not have as fair a chance as men because this is a man ran world, and men feel superior to women. The world also views women as superior to men, which makes people think that women can’t have as big of a job as being president.” 

Renae continues, “Considering society a female president will be welcomed, yet of course not without backlash, yet that would not matter because there will always be someone who disagrees with something.” Once asked if women were to be elected president, would the ‘norms’ change? Renae responds, “The norms would change because people would become more open-minded, and the norms always change when new people come into the office man or women, look at Obama.”

Renae expresses that Female leaders are an important part of society today, yet believes society does not have enough, stating, “I feel like females aren’t represented enough in leadership roles which is why it is so important.” Renae uses the two words, “powerful”, and “essential” to describe female leadership. Renae says, “Some people are against a woman running for president because they feel women aren’t equipped to running a man ran world.”

On behalf of that, Renae states, “We have yet to see a woman in the oval office because it is a man ran world.” Renae was asked if she believes society has grown enough for a female to be in the Oval Office this decade. She says, “In this new decade I feel we are more prepared and more open-minded to a new beginning.”

Finn Jacobson, a Sophomore attending Rex Putnam High School, has been involved in many political protests, even managed them, says it is long past the time that we elect a woman into the office. “Almost every other country has elected a woman into the highest office in the land, and it’s ridiculous that we have lived under this many male presidents.”

Jacobson claims that women have a better chance of going into the Oval office. Along with this, “It is a commonly repeated sentiment that women are not desirable to be in the office, but every other election at the local level says otherwise.” Jacobson were asked If people would welcome a female president, he voiced, “There’s always going to be sexist, misogynistic people that are in power going to want to reject this, yet in terms of progressive change I believe people will come around and realize that a woman is not only what we need to represent the other half of the population which has been underrepresented for so long, but also to have a change in perspective.”

Jacobson voiced if a woman were to be elected the ‘norms’ would change. Commented by, “We still have a lot of work to do other than bringing a woman on as president to dismantle the different aspects of our society that benefits so much from the patriarchy. Which will take us at an individual level, not just a flip of a switch with electing a female president.”

Jacobson is aware of the four women who are now running and believes each of them has something to offer. “They all need to be very careful of the choices they’re making. We have seen with Hilary Clinton in the last election, that she avoided places in which she needed to campaign.” Jacobson voiced his opinion on the candidates individually. “Amy Klobuchar is doing great, as well as Elizabeth Warren they both, unfortunately, have to be very calculative almost more so than the male candidates considering the country is accustomed to male candidates.”

Jacobson says the past has proven it may be time to look at a female leader. “The past four years have made it evidence that, as opposed the common argument that women are too emotional to be in office, that in fact men are too emotional to be in office if we’re going to play that one way or the other.” He says the number of females in strong leadership positions indicates it may be time for a change. “We’ve seen female leaders like Senator Ocasio Cortez, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stands up and be mature in the instance which they did not have to be. We have consistently seen male leaders such as Donald Trump and Brent Cabina cry and wine on the world stage.” The two words to describe female leaders Jacobson chose were ‘The Future’ and ‘Calculative.’ Jacobson says he’d like to see his generation look at female candidates differently. “It’s a natural time in 2020 at the beginning of a new decade to bring a woman on as president.”