Women in America have made tremendous strides toward political equality since earning the right to vote in 1920. Just four years ago, Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee of a major party. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed to choose a female vice president for his 2020 campaign to further political gender equality.
A female vice president will not only further gender equality but also diversify the presidential ticket and boost Biden’s campaign.
A female vice president will pave the way for women to one day occupy the Oval Office in the United States. A woman holding the second-highest office in the nation is long overdue, since 59 other countries already have elected female leaders. Heather McGee, senior fellow at thinktank Demos (a liberal organization focused on policy development and advocacy, commented on the need for a female in office, “This isn’t just ticking a box, this is opening a door that has been closed for too long.”
While multiple failed female campaigns have been a letdown for many, there is hope for the 2020 campaign. McGhee said, “Without a doubt, the secret to Democratic victories in the past three years has been women’s leadership. The idea that that wouldn’t translate into the first woman president was heartbreaking for many of us.” Although McGhee and other women are disappointed at the failure of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the campaigns of 2020, there is still a chance for women to be represented on the 2020 ticket.
Biden’s commitment to a woman on the presidential ticket addresses a major concern of the Democratic party’s largest voter demographic: women. It also enlarges his voting pool. Pew Research Center reports that 56% of women affiliate with Democrats and regularly express discontent for the marginalization of women at high levels of leadership. Women are also very active in politics, from running political organizations to turning out in record numbers to vote in elections. “Joe Biden absolutely has to pick a progressive champion as his VP pick. He has to unify the party, and that’s the key,” said Charles Chamberlain, the head of Democracy for America. If Biden chooses a qualified running mate, women are likely to advocate relentlessly for her and increase Biden’s popular vote.
Demanding a female VP is a request deemed to be too small-minded for many Americans, who believe that we should focus more on the quality of the nominee, not their gender. Even former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told CNN she would “love” to see a woman on this year’s ticket but believes Biden must focus on winning the electoral college and think about the nominee’s appeal to the college, which will ultimately determine the next president. Some today even believe that women remain too emotionally-unstable to hold office. An analysis by the Georgetown University Center found more than 1 in 8 Americans feel that women are not as emotionally suited as men to serve in elected office, even as men show strong emotion throughout campaigns (see President Trump’s Twitter). Additionally, women are often more active in politics than men, and a female running mate would likely appease the electoral college and the nation, as women make up just over 50% of the population.
Biden choosing a female running mate will not sacrifice quality of leadership. In the study “Do women make better political representatives than men?” by the World Economic Forum, women are often found to have more drive and relevant experience than their male counterparts when running for office. The study found female politicians send 17% more mail to constituents, directed between 20% and 100% more funding to their districts than men, and are more likely to take on committee assignments that reflect the interests and demands of their districts. Biden expressed his content with choosing a female VP. “There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow.”
Biden must choose a running mate who is both politically and personally compatible. Women in consideration include Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams and Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Whether Biden will base his decision on public policy, race, or representation of a key swing state is still unclear. Biden’s campaign expects his VP selection panel to be formed by May 1 and narrowed down sometime in July.
There are many women in the political sphere ready, willing and extremely qualified to take on the prestigious role of VP alongside the democratic nominee this fall. For too long we have restricted the presidential nomination to men. Six of the Democratic candidates in this election were women. Many of whom were highly qualified for the position, like Elizabeth Warren, who was a professor of bankruptcy law and has served seven years in Congress. Although these candidates have lost to Biden, a female VP is not far-fetched. It is time for a woman to take office.