Gendered Politics : Campaign Strategies of California Women Candidates, 1912-1970
Part of the Women in American Political History series
This book explores women's campaign strategies when they ran for state and national office in California from their first opportunity after state suffrage in 1911 to the advent of modern feminism in 1970.
Although only 18 won, nearly 500 women ran on the primary ballots, changing the political landscape for both men and women while struggling against a collective forgetfulness about their work.
Mostly white and middle-class until the 1960s, the women discussed in this book are notable for their campaign innovations which became increasingly complex, even if not consciously connected to a usable past.
They re-gendered politics as political "firsts," pursued high hopes for organizational support from their women's clubs, accommodated to opportunities created through incumbency and issue politics, and explored both separatist and integrationists politics with their parties.
In bringing these campaigns to light, this study explores the history of California women legislators and the ways in which women on the ballots sought to transcend gendered barriers, supporting women's equality while also recognizing the political value of connections to men in power. Organized in a loose chronology with the state's governors, this study shows the persistent nature of women's candidacies despite a recurring historical amnesia that complicated their progress.
Remembering this history deepens our understanding of women running for office today and solidifies their credibility in a long history of women politicians.