By Judith Warner

Many women don’t get any formal encouragement whatsoever. “Never. Never. Never. Never. Never,” was Gillibrand’s reply when I asked if party rainmakers had ever approached her about running for office once she had made her interest clear. She’s not alone. In 2014, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research published the results of 60 interviews with female candidates, officeholders and congressional staff members, and found many similar stories. Fifty-one percent of the female candidates and elected officials said they had never received a suggestion to run for higher office from party leaders, and 71 percent said they had never had such encouragement from other power brokers. Some candidates even spoke of having been “bullied” by political party leaders or other elected officeholders who attempted to talk them out of running for higher office.

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