Women Running for President of the United States of America
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the 21st woman to run for President and the first to have a real chance to win (Myers, 239). Whether or not you agree with her politics, women find it exciting that they may finally be getting a chance to sit in the top executive seat of our government. But despite major contenders over the past forty years, women have not really made significant progress in getting a woman elected as President of the United States.
At first women presidential candidates were women activists working to obtain the right to vote and equal rights for women. The first woman to run was Victoria Woodhull, a wealthy newspaper owner, who announced her candidacy for the 1872 election (Weatherford). The two most influential suffragists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, praised her efforts for obtaining equal rights but did not support her candidacy (Euchner, 1). Belva Ann Lockwood, the first woman lawyer to argue a case before the Supreme Court, ran for president in 1884 and 1888. In 1884, she won over 4,000 votes from an all-male electorate. The first woman to run as a major party candidate was Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964 (Weatherford).
In the mid-1960’s women activists realized the civil rights movement did not include them and there was a flurry of activity beginning with the founding of NOW in 1966, the U.S. National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971, followed by 20 years of law reform and equal opportunities legislation (Miles, 235). Exactly 100 years after Victoria Woodhull campaigned for president, Cong. Shirley Chisholm of New York, Cong. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, and Cong. Bella Abzug of New York simultaneously became the first Democratic women to run for U.S. president in 1972. Chisholm broke all previous records for women on the presidential ballots. Cong. Geraldine Ferraro of New York...