Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election
by Caroline Heldman, Meredith Conroy, and Alissa R. Ackerman
September 2018, 216pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5941-0
$46, £35, 40€, A63
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5942-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

More than 100 women have sought their party’s nomination, and 12 have made major bids for the presidency.

In order to understand the motivations for and implications of Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the White House— and her subsequent defeat—the authors explore sexism and gender bias in U.S. political and social culture.

While there is some indication that overt sexism toward women in politics is declining, whether this is true for women who run for the highest office in American politics remains relatively unknown. Hillary Clinton’s historic run as the 2016 Democratic nominee, however, allows scholars and journalists to contextualize decades of scholarship on sex, gender, and the American presidency.

In Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election, the authors, all experts on gender in politics, analyze the nature of gender in public opinion, media coverage, social media, and culture during the 2016 presidential election. They assess whether conventional expectations and theories hold up in today’s sociopolitical climate. Moreover, they consider how Clinton’s foray into relatively uncharted territory might redirect the political field—and its implications for women with political ambitions—going forward.


  • Analyzes original data such as Twitter hashtags, exit polls, and other public opinion data
  • Goes beyond women-in-politics research to consider gender as a barrier to political equality
  • Describes the media's involvement in perpetuating gender stereotypes
  • Considers rape culture as an important aspect of both the Trump campaign and the general election
Caroline Heldman is associate professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles and principal researcher for the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media. Her research specializes in media, the presidency, and systems of power (e.g., race, class, gender). Dr. Heldman coedited Rethinking Madame President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House?. Her forthcoming books are Consumer Activism in the U.S.: Some Democratic Implications and Women, Power, and Politics: The Right for Gender Equality in the United States.

Meredith Conroy is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, San Bernardino. She is also a senior researcher with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. She earned her PhD in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Conroy's research on the role of gender and media in politics has been published in academic journals such as The International Journal of Communication and Politics, Groups, and Identities. Her first book, Masculinity, Media, and the American Presidency, was published in 2015.

Alissa R. Ackerman is associate professor in the Social Work and Criminal Justice Program at the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a criminal justice policy researcher. Dr. Ackerman coedited The Criminalization of Immigration: Contexts and Consequences, and Sex Crimes: Transnational Problems and Global Solutions . Her most recent book, Introduction to Criminal Justice: A Personal Narrative Approach, was published in 2016. She is a founding member of the Sex Offense Policy and Research Working Group (SOPR).


"Caroline Heldman, Meredith Conroy, and Alissa R. Ackerman make a compelling case for their central argument that sex and gender were critical determinants of the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The authors weave together past research, historical narrative, electoral case studies, and original analysis of Twitter posts to demonstrate how strongly masculinity shapes our expectations about presidential candidates and how extensively sexism pervades the conduct of campaigns. Jam-packed with astute observations and provocative insights, this book is must reading for anyone interested in understanding the gender dynamics of contemporary elections."—Susan J. Carroll, Professor of Political Science and Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

"If you are someone who, like me, thinks this country desperately needs more leadership from women at all levels, buy Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election for yourself and read it carefully. If you teach, assign it. And if you’re in media or politics, keep a copy on your desk next to your computer, because as an up-to-date, one-stop resource for research and analysis about the formidable and ongoing obstacles to the ascension of women candidates to the nation’s highest office, it has no peer."—Jackson Katz, PhD, Author, Man Enough? Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity
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