Foreword for Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women's Campaigns for Executive Office, Rainbow Murray, ed.
Book abstract: This examination of the role of gender stereotyping in media coverage of executive elections uses nine case studies from around the world to provide a unique comparative perspective.To date, there have only been two female leaders of G8 countries, Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel. The United States, where women's lib has been on the front burner for more than 40 years, has yet to nominate a female candidate for its highest office. Are stereotypes still limiting women's opportunities? In recent years, more and more high-profile women candidates have been running for executive office in democracies all around the world. Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women's Campaigns for Executive Office is the first study to undertake an international comparison of women's campaigns for highest office and to identify the commonalities among them. For example, women candidates often begin as front-runners as the idea of a woman president captures the public imagination, followed by a decline in popularity as stereotypes and gendered media coverage kick in to erode the woman's perceived credibility as a national leader. On the basis of nine international case studies of recent campaigns written by thirteen country specialists, the volume develops an overarching framework which explores how gender stereotypes shape the course and outcome of women's campaigns in the male-dominated worlds of executive elections in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australasia. This comparative approach allows the authors to discriminate between the contingent effects of a particular candidate or national culture and the universal operation of gender stereotyping.