The ghosts of Hillary Clinton’s loss haunted Elizabeth Warren and the other female candidates this year.

By Susan Milligan

A woman will not win the presidency of the United States this year. Nor will a woman even be a major party nominee for the post. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s departure from the race Thursday left the Democratic field, which started as the most diverse in history, with two white men in their late 70s. (Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is still in the race, with a single delegate she earned in the American Samoa primary, but has no path to the nomination.)

Was it just pure sexism that led to the all-male choices for voters?

Sure. And not entirely, experts say.

“I think it’s both sexism and the unwillingness for people, the electorate, to put their weight behind a woman candidate,” says C. Nicole Mason, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Elizabeth Warren was absolutely qualified, one of the strongest candidates in the field and ran a good campaign. What we see is that 82% of people, when polled, believe in gender equality. But when it comes down to it, they have a hard time operationalizing it and committing to it,” Mason says, noting an IWPR study showing that if trends continue, women will not reach parity in Congress for 88 years.

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