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2020 Bias Tracker

More women are running for office than ever before—but they face pushback that men don’t. As the 2020 election race heats up, we’re tracking bias on the campaign trail, and calling it out on social media.

See bias in action and learn to spot it yourself. Together we can #GetOutTheBias.



Warren’s pregnancy discrimination story is not only an indicator of the changing ways gender bias gets told in mainstream politics, but also touched a nerve of shared experiences that haven't been discussed on the national stage. #GetOutTheBias


This is a great example of how the likability penalty comes into play. Women often have to worry about being described as “too aggressive,” “too serious” or “bossy.”

To make things more complicated, women also pay a penalty for being agreeable and nice, which can make people think they’re less competent.

This double bind in the workplace and politics are challenging for women. Women need to assert themselves to be seen as effective. But when they do assert themselves, they are often less liked. #GetOutTheBias


By using she/her to talk about the next president, Harris is challenging the outdated notions of what it means to be “presidential” and “electable.” #GetOutTheBias

Learn more about how gender bias works—and how it hurts women candidates.

Get the facts



With almost five months to go for the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses on Feb. 3, it’s important to remember to set aside the false belief that America isn’t ready for a woman president and outdated notions of what it means to be “presidential” and “electable.” #GetOutTheBias


Research shows that women often get negative feedback on their speaking style, while men do not. Let’s focus on what the candidates are saying, not how they’re saying it. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

That is the longest I’ve listened to Warren. My goodness she is a whiny woman. And long winded #DemDebate


When women run for office, their appearance, dress, and personal style are subject to scrutiny. Whether these comments are critical or flattering, they take attention away from what really matters: their ideas and experience. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

Who did Klobuchar’s makeup? Dracula? #DemDebate


This debate should put aside two outdated notions: “Women aren’t presidential” They sure sounded presidential to me. And “women are less electable” None of the women on the stage have ever lost an election. That’s electable. #DemDebate #GetOutTheBias


We tend to underestimate women’s performance and overestimate men’s. Women get less credit for their accomplishments and more blame for mistakes. As a result, women have to work harder than men to prove that they’re qualified. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

So far I have seen @KamalaHarris get more questions about her record than anyone else (that seems unfair, tbh), and then give incredible answers in these tough moments. Impressive. #DemDebate


Our research shows America IS ready for a woman president. 53% of voters say they are “very ready” or “extremely ready” for a woman president. Yet only 16% of voters think most Americans share the same enthusiasm.

Say what you want about her, but if anyone can go toe-to-toe against the donald, it’s Kamala Harris. BUT I am not sure if America is truly ready for a woman president, especially a woman of color. #DemDebate


“Don’t assume people won’t vote for a woman... Don’t assume they aren't ready for the first gay president or the second minority president. If you are, maybe they are, too.”

Fighting gender bias starts by calling it out #GetOutTheBias



This is an example of #maternalbias. Women candidates who stray away from gender norms pay a price. Voters generally prefer women who are married with children. #GetOutTheBias

Kamala Harris has no children. That’s disqualifying.


Now more than ever, women are shaping messaging and strategy as well as steering policy and financial decisions of presidential campaigns.

Not only are women a dominant force at the highest levels of Democratic presidential campaigns, but also they’re getting paid equitably for their work, a POLITICO analysis shows.


Friendly reminder: the idea that a woman candidate is not as “electable” as a man isn’t grounded in actual data. In fact, it’s grounded in gender bias. Elections should be about deciding who’s right for the job. Don’t let gender bias get in the way of that. #GetOutTheBias 🚫🚫🚫


Having to overcome the concept of electability, which attempts to keep women out, has been the experience of women running for office for too long. #GetOutTheBias


After the second round of Democratic debates this week, here's what struck us:

Once again, the women stood out. Some of the sharpest, most memorable moments of the debates belonged to them. Frustratingly, too little airtime was spent on issues vital to women...


Did you know?

People are less likely to vote for women candidates who they perceive as power-seeking. Men are not penalized in the same way.

Source: Harvard Kennedy School, “The Price of Power: Power Seeking and Backlash Against Female Politicians”


Feels all too familiar for most women... One study showed that women are interrupted nearly 3X as much as men. Let our voices and ideas be heard. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

It’s not as much about how Chris Matthews interrupts & talks down to Elizabeth Warren here...that happens all the time to smart, strong women–the point is how well Warren explains her points and how Matthews shrinks in comparison. That’s presidential.


Bizarre is one word; I have a few others. Who exactly is @KamalaHarris unsteady compared to? #DemDebate2 #GetOutTheBias

.@KamalaHarris is getting a lot of incoming and she’s handling it all well. I do not get what people are seeing who think she is flustered or unsteady. Bizarre to me.


This statement may seem pretty ordinary. But moments like this add up: women have to work harder than men to convince people of their experience. #DemDebate #GetOutTheBias

“I can win this. I’m from the midwest and I’ve won every race, every place, every time.” – Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s opening statement.

Did you know?

Women running for office receive less positive media coverage than men who run.

Source: Political Parity, “Women Candidates and their Campaigns”


Maybe they did this on purpose to force us to LISTEN TO THEIR IDEAS 🗣 #GetOutTheBias

Everyone’s talking trash about Warren and Klobuchar wearing the same color blazer but no one thinks twice about the men all doing it. I guess the ladies should have worn ties. #DemDebate


This piece is a great example of how people tend to overestimate men’s performance, and underestimate women’s.


Representation matters #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

Cool to see out and proud gay men on both sides of the stage tonight. How far we’ve come — and what a contrast the Democratic Party is altogether. #DemDebate


This is exhilarating to watch. @ewarren is using lots of agentic language – usually the domain of men – and from where I’m sitting, it’s working for her. I could watch these women own their power all night. #DemDebate #GetOutTheBias

I took on the big banks, and I beat them. I took on Wall Street CEOs, and I beat them. I took on a popular incumbent senator, and I beat him. #DemDebate


#DemDebate We’re off to a good start. When there's more than one woman on the stage, we stop focusing on their gender, and their unique ideas and personal styles can shine through #NoOnlys #GetOutTheBias


Damn straight, @amyklobuchar. Way to take a gendered comment and turn it on its head. Exciting to see women candidates owning their toughness. #DemDebate #GetOutTheBias

My opponent in my first debate ever called me "nothing but a street fighter from the Iron Range." You know what I said? “Thank you.” So never tell me I won’t fight for what I believe in. #DemDebate

Did you know?

The media focuses on the appearance of women candidates more than they do on men’s.

Source: Vox, “America’s sexist obsession with what women politicians wear, explained”


When there’s more than one woman running for president, it changes the dynamic on the debate stage and in the race as a whole. Our cofounder and CEO Rachel Thomas shares how in this op-ed for Marie Claire.


Men can generally get away with being more demonstrative. Women, however, are often dinged when they assert themselves. @Warren likely gets this and is making sure people stay focused on her ideas and don’t slip into focusing on her style. #DemDebate #GetOutTheBias

When @ewarren gets attacked, her tone gets quieter (pulling folks in to listen). When @BernieSanders gets attacked, the tone gets louder (and the hands wave higher). #DemDebate #GenderLens2020


Where do the Democratic men get the matching suits and ties? #DemDebate #GetOutTheBias

Democrat women all go to the same jacket store

Did you know?

87% of voters reported seeing sexist coverage of women candidates.

Source: Name It. Change It., “Where Voters Saw Most Sexist Treatment of Women Candidates in Media”


#DemDebate night 1 – The good news: the women rocked it. The bad news: the complete absence of women’s issues. Given we’re 51% of the population, that one really stings. And noting that “women’s issues” are everyone's issues. #GetOutTheBias


🚨Reminder🚨: Women running for office face obstacles that men don’t. People are more likely to question their qualifications, criticize their looks, and even dislike them. #GetOutTheBias.


These poll findings indicate that the likability penalty often surfaces in how we see and describe women.

Did you know?

13% of Americans think men are better suited emotionally for politics than women.

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, “May the Best Woman Win?: Education and Bias against Women in American Politics”


Sexism in politics is real—and it doesn’t just hurt women candidates. It hurts all of us who would benefit from having more women in elected office.


Great analysis from the New York Times on “the strangely enduring question of the electability of women.”


Senator Kamala Harris’s performance at the first Democratic debates sparked some ugly reactions—some racist (“she’s not Black enough”), some sexist (“her ambition is a problem”), some both.

When biases intersect, the compounding discrimination is often greater than the sum of its parts. Black women know that better than anyone. It's on all of us to #GetOutTheBias.

Did you know?

Men running for office raise between 80% and 125% more than female candidates in state legislature races.

Source: Michael Barber, et al., “Gender Inequalities in Campaign Finance”



The conversation around “electability” is deeply rooted in #genderbias. Good to see @Lawrence calling this out. #GetOutTheBias

Donnie v. Lawrence here on Warren’s “electability”. Lawrence says: with all due respect, what Donnie just said has “zero value.”


Important read 👇 by @summerbrennan on how we expect women to be “nice” and “friendly”—and when they assert themselves, they can be called “angry” or “aggressive.”

When people point out the sexism in calling a female candidate “angry” it’s often that said candidate isn’t really acting angry at all, she’s just talking at a similar decibel as the male candidates who do not then get called angry.


It’s a double bind that women face on the debate stage, at work, and in conversations all over. They’re conditioned not to interrupt, but if they wait to be called on, they may miss out altogether #GetOutTheBias

The first primary debate was a scene familiar to many American women: the men in the room yelled over each other, while the female candidates, for the most part, waited their turn, writes @adriennengreen

Did you know?

We tend to be more critical of women’s personal style. In a study of performance reviews, 66% of women received negative feedback for being “abrasive,” compared to less than 1% of men.

Source: Fortune, “The abrasiveness trap: High-achieving men and women are described differently in reviews”


The conversation around the “electability” of women candidates is deeply rooted in #genderbias. Good to see @Lawrence calling this out. #GetOutTheBias

Donnie v. Lawrence here on Warren’s “electability”. Lawrence says: with all due respect, what Donnie just said has “zero value.”


We need to be asking women candidates more than “is she married?” #GetOutTheBias

THREAD: We are going to be live-tweeting tonight’s #DemDebate––and to get us going, here are the top questions for each candidate on stage.

Did you know?

Women are interrupted more than men. In one study, men interrupted women nearly three times as often as they interrupted other men, and women fell into the same pattern.

Source: Slate, “How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men”


When men do it, it’s not notable. But we are often taken aback when women interrupt. #GetOutTheBias

Kirsten Gillibrand is not waiting to get called on to speak


All too common for women at work. One study showed that women are interrupted nearly 3X as much as men. #GetOutTheBias

Kirsten and Kamala are used to having men speak over them every day at work. They knew what to expect coming in tonight. They have been fighting for their voice their entire adult life. #DemDebate


Language matters.

Multiple tweets noticing @KamalaHarris use of female pronouns in reference to the presidency - energizing voters with subtle shifts in language


If you’ve ever caught yourself having a negative reaction to a woman with a strong leadership style or who speaks in a direct, assertive manner—that’s likeability bias at work. #GetOutTheBias

Unfortunately because of bias, women candidates do have to be more careful with showing passion than men because unlike men there is a risk they’ll be punished for it. #DemDebate


After tonight’s debate, a few things stand out to us.

First, there’s no question that the women on the debate stage last night and tonight are tough. They have strong points of view, lifetimes of experience, and ideas that they’re ready to fight for.

Second, they’re not shying away from emotion. While many women work hard to keep their feelings in check...


If you’ve ever caught yourself having a negative reaction to a woman with a strong leadership style or who speaks in a direct, assertive manner—that’s likeability bias at work. #GetOutTheBias

Unfortunately because of bias, women candidates do have to be more careful with showing passion than men because unlike men there is a risk they’ll be punished for it. #DemDebate

Did you know?

Americans are more likely to use "powerful" in a positive way to describe men (67%) and in a negative way to describe women (92%).

Source: Pew Research Center, “Strong men, Caring women: How Americans describe what society values (and doesn’t) in each gender”


This is something we see in the workplace too—women have to do more than men to prove their competence. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

One reason that Kamala exchange with Biden matters: Dem voters need to be convinced that a woman can face Trump onstage and take him apart. That moment got her a long way.


She’s too aggressive...bossy...pushy. We wish these words didn’t ring a bell but they do. And they aren't applied as often to men. This is what likability bias looks like. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

Is Harris being too aggressive?


Women of color who run for office often face bias for their gender AND for their race.

Did you know?

Studies show that women often get negative feedback on their speaking style, while men do not.

Source: Harvard Business Review, “Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back”


Yep, women are often shorter than men. The faster we shrug and say “meh, it doesn’t matter” the better off our democracy will be. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

Okay, Elizabeth Warren is standing between two very tall guys. Shouldn’t matter but looks odd


We often fall into the trap of expecting women to be “pleasant.” But running for president isn’t about being pleasant. It’s about ideas, experience, and getting things done. #GetOutTheBias

Liz Warren is just so unpleasant. #DemDebate


This is especially notable because one study showed men interrupted women nearly 3X as often as they interrupted other men (and women fell into the same pattern). #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

It’s nice to watch men interrupting other men for a change #DemDebate

Did you know?

People tend to hire or promote men based on their potential, whereas women are hired and promoted based on what they’ve already accomplished.

Source: McKinsey & Company, “Unlocking the full potential of women in the US economy”


Tonight’s debate was a milestone. Three women were on the debate stage. Two women were moderating. By and large, the women candidates weren’t spoken over or sidelined, and their ideas were front and center. For anyone wondering whether having a record number of women in this race would make a meaningful difference, tonight provided an answer: absolutely.


A woman candidate’s voice (and her hair, clothes, face, body…) are often subject to criticism. Comments like this distract from what actually matters: her ideas and experience. #GetOutTheBias #DemDebate

Is it just me? Or does #ElizabethWarren constantly sound like she’s on the brink of an emotional breakdown when she’s talking?


Important read 👇 “It’s too much to ask one woman to break the glass ceiling. But collectively, the half dozen women running for the nation’s highest office can do it.”


While 74% of voters surveyed say they are comfortable with a woman president, only 33% believe their neighbors would be.

Did you know?

Americans are more likely to see ambition as a valuable asset in men than women. Because we expect women to be selfless and giving, ambitious women can be criticized for being “out for themselves.”

Source: Pew Research Center, “Strong men, Caring women: How Americans describe what society values (and doesn’t) in each gender”


THIS from Lakia Wilson in Detroit👏👏👏: “Some voters think that the women and the diverse women are not palatable. You can make someone electable if you just support them.”


Women candidates are more likely to be asked, “who’s taking care of the kids while you're on the campaign trail?” This is maternal bias–and it hurts women running for office.


People living with disabilities have long endured stereotypes and bias–and the campaign trail is no exception.


Of 132 primary debates from 1996-2019, 44% had no women moderators, and 73% had no moderators of color.


Spot gender bias in the 2020 election?

Help us call it out on social media.

Get the facts

Dig deeper into the research on gender bias in elections, and the challenges women candidates face.

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50 ways to fight bias

Bias holds women back in the workplace, too. 50 Ways to Fight Bias is a card-based activity and video series that highlights 50 specific examples of gender bias in the workplace, encourages group discussion and problem-solving, and offers research-backed recommendations for what to do.

Learn More