Gender bias at Thanksgiving? Use our Research!


Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season and all that entails: good food, visiting family and friends, and the inevitable arguments over politics. How are we supposed to enjoy our turkey while navigating “an emotional minefield hiding underneath a kitschy tablecloth”? Gun control, healthcare, taxes, and immigration were all on people’s minds last Thanksgiving, and this year’s discussions may include the upcoming election year.

Though it may not be possible to convince every relative to vote your way in 2020, you can do your part to make relatives reconsider any gender biases in their arguments. Need some facts and figures to help? Here are some ways you can use Gender on the Ballot’s research to confront gender bias at the dinner table:

  • America isn’t ready for a woman president.
    • Voters seem to be taking a broader view of electability than conventional wisdom suggests; in a recent study, eight out of ten voters rejected the idea that America isn’t ready to elect a female president. For most voters, electability means having a deep understanding of the challenges Americans face, not being ‘someone you could get a drink with.’
    • In the Barbara Lee Family Foundation’s new research on executive leadership, we found that all hypothetical women candidates tested win or tie their head-to-head ballots against a straight white man of the opposite party.
  • Men have more knowledge/experience on x than women.
    • Research shows that women have to do more to prove they are qualified. For men, their qualification is assumed.
  • She’s too negative.
    • Contrasting with your opponent is an important part of campaigning, but women face more blowback for it. When a woman falls from that “ethical pedestal,” voters judge her more harshly than they would a man.
  • I just don’t like her.
    • Women face the double bind of needing to show competence and likeability. Although people may vote for a man they don’t like, they are less likely to vote for a woman candidate they don’t like.
  • Women aren’t electable/a woman lost last time.
    • As stated by GOTB’s own Amanda Hunter, “When people say it shouldn’t be a woman this time, because a woman lost last time, well, men have been losing the presidency for hundreds of years.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

At the end of the day, many factors go into who someone votes for. With GOTB’s research, you can have the tools to make sure the deciding factor isn’t rooted in gender bias.

For more responses to specific comments about women candidates, check out Lean In’s Hear That? Say This campaign.

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