Book Review: Vote Her In
By: Stephanie Vessely
“No more nice girls,” writes Rebecca Sive in Vote Her In: Your Guide To Electing Our First Woman President, quoting early feminist writer Ellen Willis. “Forget turning a blind eye. Forget nicely insisting. Forget being polite. Forget wearing the white suits, hoping imagery will sufficiently motivate. We now know #TimesUp for all that.”
Part manifesto, part action plan, Vote Her In is rally cry to women (and men) everywhere: The time for mourning the 2016 election is over. It’s time to get moving. It’s time to turn anger into action. It’s time for a woman to “sit in the Oval Office, behind the desk.”
Divided in two parts, Vote Her In first makes its case for why a woman president is so desperately needed. For instance, the total share of women elected to statewide office has never been higher than 25.9 percent. In 2018, only six of fifty U.S. governors are women. And women make up only 19.8 percent of the U.S. Congress. All of this, despite the fact that women are over 50 percent of the population.
Sive also delves into women’s history, from the Salem witch trials and the Suffragette movement to Hillary Clinton’s historic nomination and the Women’s Marches in 2017 and 2018. Using profiles and U.S. history to guide her arguments, Sive alludes to the same idea throughout the book—we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place if women had held more positions of power all along.
Part two lays out Sive’s action plan for electing more women to office and ultimately, electing our first woman president. Each chapter details her argument and outlines action steps readers can take now. One of the strengths of this section is its specificity. Rather than urging people to “educate” or “write,” Sive offers a checklist of concrete action items readers can take, such as writing op-eds or blog posts, and organizing voter education activities in their neighborhoods.
The book as a whole is organized around images of the protest posters Sive captured at the Chicago Women’s March in January, 2017. Each chapter begins with a photograph of one of the posters, which serves to set the theme.
Ultimately, Vote Her In succeeds in its mission to educate and empower readers to take our nation and its future seriously. It reminds readers that the problems aren’t only in Washington D.C.—and neither are the solutions. Now is the time for everyone to come together, to dig in, and to do our civic duty. Maybe a woman president won’t solve all of our problems, but it is certainly a step toward forming a more perfect union.