Recoding the Boys’ Club: The Experiences and Future of Women in Political Technology

Kreiss, Daniel; Adams, Kirsten; Ciesielski, Jenni; Frauenfelder, Kate; Micchia, Gabrielle; Fernandez, Haley; Lowe, Brinley

This book offers the first in-depth look at the employment patterns and work experiences of women working in political technology on presidential campaigns in the United States. The book draws on a unique data set of 1,004 staffers working in political technology on presidential campaigns during the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 election cycles; analysis of hiring patterns during the 2020 presidential primary cycle; and interviews with forty-five women who worked on twelve different presidential campaigns. The book reveals that women are underrepresented in political tech and especially in leadership positions, struggle to make their voices heard on campaigns, and have few means of holding people accountable for inappropriate behavior. This book is animated by the lived experiences of women. It conveys the struggles that many women endured to gain access to campaign workspaces and the battles for inclusion many faced once they got there. It shows how few formal channels women had to hold men accountable for sexist or demeaning behavior that prevented them from being the best they could be at their jobs. All with the aim of helping those who do this work create more gender-equitable and inclusive workplaces—and ones that value the ideas and skills of all those who work to get candidates elected. For those women entering the field or their careers more generally, this book offers an inside look at what those who came before experienced to help them navigate workplaces dominated by men.