Highest Glass Ceiling : Women's Quest for the American Presidency
A woman will one day occupy the Oval Office because women themselves have made it inevitable, says best-selling historian Ellen Fitzpatrick. In The Highest Glass Ceiling she tells the remarkable story of the candidates, voters, activists, and citizens who, despite overwhelming odds against women in politics, set their sights on the highest office in the land.
Since Victoria Woodhull launched her symbolic bid for the presidency in 1872, dozens of women have sought the presidency over the past 150 years. Their quest began long before women won the vote and it unfolded over decades when a woman’s pursuit of any higher political office was met with prejudice, mockery, and hostility. Even after women started voting in 1920, they remained shut out of the smoke-filled rooms where presidential candidacies were often born. In the words of suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Cott, “The real thing in the center, with the door locked tight,” is the “party machinery.”
From stunt campaigns like comedian Gracie Allen’s to the more serious?and to many party leaders, more troublesome?bids of Republican Senator Margaret Smith and Democratic Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, female candidates continued to challenge women’s exclusion from presidential politics. Their long journey to the White House is a tale of influence and intrigue right up to the present political moment. Whether a woman will break through the glass ceiling during the current election cycle is uncertain, Fitzpatrick acknowledges. But it will happen sooner or later?for reasons that are illuminated in The Highest Glass Ceiling.