When Will a Woman Be President?

Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm was the first woman to try to be nominated for President by a major political party.

There are more women in Congress than there have ever been at any time in United States history. Three women sit on the Supreme Court. Women have made tremendous strides in government, but there is one office that eludes them. The United States has not yet had a female president.

Historians debate who was the first female presidential candidate. Victoria Woodhull ran in 1872, well before women got to vote in 1920. But, Woodhull was too young to be president at 34 years old. Presidents must be at least 35 years old. She dropped out of the race and didn’t appear on any ballots.

Belva Ann Lockwood ran full campaigns in 1884 and 1888 for the National Equal Rights Party. She appeared on ballots in several states and received almost 5,000 votes in 1884. In 1888, her campaign was smaller.

The first woman to run for the nomination of a major party was Shirley Chisholm in 1972. Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress. She sought he nomination of the Democratic Party and entered 12 primaries [elections where voters in a state choose a candidate for a political party].

In 2016, Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State and First Lady, won the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. She came closer than any woman to becoming president, but she lost the general election to Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

The efforts of these women have inspired other women to run for office. Some people feel it is not a matter of “if” a woman president, but “when.”

What Do You Think? Why is it important to have men and women run for president?

Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Collection, [LC-DIG-ppmsca-55925]