US Presidential Election

Nov. 7, 2016 Weekly Graphs

This contest may lead to the election of Hilary Clinton as the first female president in the history of the United States. This week’s graph takes a closer look at the development of V-Dem’s Women’s Political Empowerment index for the United States between 1900 and 2012; an index that among many things measures the representation of women in political positions.

The Women’s Political Empowerment index measures capacity of women to participate in societal decision-making. The index is composed of three sub-indices consisting of measures of civil liberties for women, civil society participation by women and women’s political participation.

The graph below shows a steady upward trajectory since 1920, when female suffrage was introduced in the United States. We can also see that women’s civil liberties increased sharply in the 1960s and have since the 1980s remained on the same level. Women’s civil society participation and women’s political participation have seen a similar continuous upward trajectory, but political participation seems to have decreased in recent years. The election of a woman as president would potentially increase women’s political empowerment as it might inspire more women to participate politically, and policies supporting further female empowerment might well follow.

You can learn more about political developments in the United States or further investigate women’s political empowerment across the globe by using the online analysis tool at


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