Series Foreword From the nearly century-long campaign for women’s suffrage, to ongoing contestation over reproductive rights, to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s meme-worthy claim of having “binders full of women,” politics has been a central staging ground in the United States for debates about gender. The 2016 presidential campaign was no exception. For the first time in the nation’s history, a woman received a major party nomination to head the ticket as candidate for president. As it happens, the Republi- can Party nominee also served as a lightning rod for discussions of gender issues, particularly in the days following revelations of his vulgar boasting about the sexual assault of women. The eventual outcome of the 2016 presidential election took many experts by surprise, revealing that many observers had badly misjudged how women would cast their votes. In the end, the 2016 campaign season confirmed not just the ongoing central- ity of gender in U.S. politics, but that we still have a long way to go in understanding how gender matters—to each of us as individuals and as members of a shared polity. The Gender Matters in U.S. Politics series pushes the boundaries of exist- ing research on gender and politics. Traditionally, political scientists have engaged the subject of gender primarily by looking at differences in the way men and women behave—as voters, candidates, leaders, policy mak- ers, activists, and citizens. Today, there is growing recognition—within the field of political science and beyond—of the critical need to think more broadly and more deeply about gender. Across the social sciences, researchers now recognize that gender is not only an individual attribute but a “socially constructed stratification system” that plays a central role
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