Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s departure from the presidential race means there will be only three women on a debate stage of 10 this Thursday.
But we can’t forget: What’s happening is historic. Only four years ago it seemed like a stretch that more than one woman could compete as a frontrunner in a national presidential election. Go further back, and it was a dream that a woman could even be a frontrunner.
Right now, we have two women who consistently make it on the list of voters’ top choices: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running neck-and-neck with Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, with Sen. Kamala Harris a close fourth.
Electing a woman president has been a part of WomenCount’s mission since our very beginning. Now that women are proving they can compete at the very top of the ballot, our work is more important than ever.
Research shows that when women run, women win at the same rate men do. That finding hasn’t been tested in a presidential race, but so far it’s holding true—and more so:
Women presidential candidates are overperforming. We started out with six women in a field of 27 Democratic candidates who have been in the race this cycle. That means you might expect 1 in 4 top-tier candidates to be women. But right now, we’re at half.
The higher percentage of women in this race is transforming campaigns, from how they’re staffed to who’s funding them.
According to a recent analysis from Politico, the six women who have run for president this cycle filled 60 percent of their campaign’s senior leadership positions with women. This sea change comes from the ground up, and the men’s campaigns are taking it seriously too—Biden’s, Bernie’s and Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaigns are 54 percent women at the top.
Women donors are stepping up too. We gave 38 percent of all political donations in 2018—a record, up from 37 percent in 2016 and 27 percent in 2014. According to Open Secrets, 100,000 women have given $200 or more to a presidential candidate this cycle, four times more than at this point four years ago.
But even as women become a larger share of donors and candidates, our fundraising power lags: In 2018, there were twice as many men as women giving more than $200. That gap is narrowing this cycle, but it’s still there.