How Women Can Prepare for the Campaign Trail

Women are held to double standards throughout their time on the campaign trail. In order to impress voters, women candidates must be prepared to lead even before they announce their candidacy. Barbara Lee Family Foundation research shows how women can prove their preparation in order to run successful campaigns.

  1. Be ready for a crisis.

The top indicator of electability for women candidates running for executive office is the ability to handle a crisis. With so many types of crises, a woman candidate is bound to face at least one during her campaign. Voters know what type of leader they want during a crisis: someone with a 360-degree view who is in touch. She must communicate not only with constituents, but also experts and other officials. Women who face a crisis must prove they can handle it by staying calm, being decisive and confident, and making a plan.


  1. Highlight your qualifications.

Qualifications are another essential hallmark of electability. Women candidates must be seen as confident, competent, and qualified in their initial presentation. The best way for women to do so is to weave their experiences and professional accomplishments into their campaigns. Before sharing personal stories, a woman must lead with her issue expertise and accomplishments. Voters want proof that a candidate is action-oriented, organized, knowledgeable, gets results, and ready to serve as soon as she takes office.


  1. Be confident.

It only takes voters 30 seconds to assess a woman candidate’s confidence. If they believe she is confident, they are more likely to see her as both qualified and likeable. This is especially important because constituents will vote for a man they don’t like if they think he’s qualified, but they won’t do the same for a woman, even if they believe she’s qualified. Women must prove they’re confident in their preparation and expertise in order to make voters confident in the candidate’s abilities, too.


  1. Fundraise.

Raising money to fund a campaign is critical to winning an election. Unfortunately, women typically face a gender gap in fundraising. Women are often excluded from financial circles that include the best-connected donors and find it hard to make connections to corporate associations and industries that rarely include women executives. Donors also hold women to higher standards than men, forcing them to prove their path to victory and then requiring more face time before making a contribution. Women can overcome this and raise the funds necessary to prepare their campaigns by meeting with key allies before announcing, planning more time for fundraising, and preparing a pitch to investors.

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