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A Woman President Wouldn’t Erase Centuries Of Male-Dominated Politics

As the very first female presidential nominee of a major party, Democrat Hillary Clinton is already in a historic position. Come November, she could achieve another milestone: becoming the first Madam President in United States history.

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Yet behind the groundbreaking nature of Clinton’s candidacy lies an absence of women in elected office; in terms of female representation at the national level, the U.S. lags behind much of the rest of the world.

Created in collaboration with Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), the video here is an exploration of this disparity and the difference that gender, regardless of party, can make.

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Here are a few noteworthy stats:

  • Women make up about half of the U.S. population, according to census data, and yet are consistently less than 25 percent of those in elected office nationwide, CAWP reports.
  • Women of color make up only 6 percent of Congress, according to CAWP, despite being 20 percent of the U.S. population based on the census.
  • According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, if you compare the percentage of female representation in our national legislature to that of every other country, the U.S. comes in 96th, between Cyprus and Kyrgyzstan.
  • When American women run for office, they win at about the same rate as men, according to “Gender in Campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives” by Barbara Burrell.
  • Polling from Gallup shows that the share of Americans who would vote for a woman for president rose from 33 percent in 1937 to 95 percent in 2012.
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CORRECTION (July 27, 4:15 p.m.): An earlier version of this video misstated the percentage of the legislature in Cyprus that is female. It is 19.6 percent, not 19.2 percent.

Christine Laskowski is a video producer for FiveThirtyEight.

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