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It’s a man’s world?

September 27, 2007

While reading a post by a fellow blogger, I couldn’t help but think of Victoria Woodhull, whom I recently read about in Rodger Streitmatter’s Voices of Revolution. Woodhull, who co-published Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly from 1870 to 1876, was a supporter of free love and women’s suffrage and was the first woman to run for U.S. president.

When she ran in 1872, women were not legally allowed to vote, let alone run for the presidency. Furthermore, Woodhull was a mere 34 years old, which further disqualified her. The number of votes she received is unknown.

Woodhull’s lack of success didn’t shock me — in fact, I was impressed to learn that a woman actually ran for the presidency in 1872. However, while perusing the website of the American Women Presidents (a political action group for female presidential candidates), I found something that did shock me: Nearly 136 years after Woodhull ran, the closest a woman came to the presidency was Shirley Chisholm in 1972. That is to say, the success of female candidates (in elections, that is) peaked about 35 years ago.

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