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Report - Putting Sexism in Its Place on the Campaign Trail

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation released new research on how voters perceive sexism in politics:

Takeaways from Putting Sexism in Its Place on the Campaign Trail include:

  • A majority of voters acknowledge that women face sexism while campaigning, and broadly support women calling out their experiences of sexism.

  • Sexist incidents present women candidates with a leadership test they can pass, and voters do not believe candidates must choose to be electable or address sexism. Voters want a leader who is electable not despite the fact that she addresses sexism, but because she has the leadership skills to address it well.

  • There's a longtime misperception that silence is a strong response when women experience sexism—this research suggests otherwise. Ignoring or being perceived as turning a blind eye to serious incidents of sexism can potentially result in blowback against women candidates because voters want to see strength and backbone.

  • Voters prefer a calm, confident, and professional response to a sexist situation from women candidates, rather than ignoring it or responding in anger. Among the large share of voters surveyed who want to see a woman candidate address a sexist incident, ignoring it or responding with anger diminishes their support for the candidate.

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