Expressions of interest: 2023 Pathways to Politics Program for Women

Shared hurdles: How political races change when two women compete

Two women talking while walking down a large hallway

With more and more women running for office, races between women candidates will become the norm — not a novelty. New research from US-based Barbara Lee Family Foundation reveals how candidates’ race, political party, and gender interact to influence voter opinion when more than one woman is on the ballot.

Research on gender dynamics in politics has seldom studied races between two women candidates. This research helps to fill that gap, and aims to give women the tools they need to resonate with voters in races against other women. Shared Hurdles shows that in an election between two women candidates, gender biases are still prevalent, and voters hold both women to a higher standard than they hold male candidates. 

Based on research from the US political landscape, Shared Hurdles is a timely update on how gender shapes politics, and provides a framework for women candidates who are campaigning against other women.

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation has studied every woman candidate’s race for governor across the United States since 1998. Their goal has been to produce non-partisan, pragmatic guides for women on both sides of American politics, to maximise their strategic advantages and clear the hurdles they face when running for office.

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