Q&A with Rebecca Sive, author of Vote Her In

With the 2020 Presidential Election right around the corner, Rebecca Sive’s Vote Her In is an important reminder to support female politicians. In particular, Sive’s book addresses the unrealized dream of millions of American women: electing the first woman president. It makes the case for the urgency of women attaining equal executive power at all levels, including the presidency, and offers a comprehensive strategy for every woman to be a part of this campaign—the most important of our lifetimes.

Learn more about Rebecca Sive and her book below!


Why were you inspired to make the case that now is the time to elect a woman president and make the case for American women attaining executive political power everywhere?

It was clear after the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and then again after President Trump proved just how uninterested he was in advocating for policies benefiting women, that we needed to make the election of a woman president a top priority. I also thought that doing so would demonstrate that women have the right and the ability to hold executive political power in any and every context. I was inspired by the popular quote, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” and I believe that shattering this glass ceiling—the presidency—will demonstrate to every American woman and girl who dreams of leadership that she really can be anyone and do anything.

Why will readers find Vote Her In particularly useful right now, in the midst of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the ongoing resistance generated by the Women’s Marches?

Millions of women are actively resisting Donald Trump’s policies. As we are now in the midst of the 2018 mid-term campaigns and the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, many of these activists are turning their attention to the 2020 presidential campaign. Vote Her In presents every woman with the research to make their case for electing more female candidates to office, as well as an outline of the action plans they need to get started.

There have been a number of books released analyzing the 2016 presidential election and Hillary Clinton’s defeat, and there are several others that are guides to resisting Donald Trump’s presidency. What sets Vote Her In apart?

My book is different because Vote Her In is a very specific handbook to help readers get started on working to elect the first woman president. As such, it is tailored to readers and activists for whom this is a major priority, right now.

Why are you so optimistic about women of diverse backgrounds and from all over the country coalescing to elect Madam President, especially when there seems to be so much dissension?

I have spent my entire professional career organizing and leading advocacy campaigns benefiting women, partnering with women of all kinds. I know this can be done, and I know this is how women want to work together: in concert with one another in ways that benefit every woman.

You have been an advocate for women’s rights and political leadership for many years. Why did you choose to make this advocacy a focal point of your life’s work? What originally inspired you to become an activist, and how do you keep going?

I was inspired by my parents who were both committed political activists (and my mother still is, at age 94). As a child, I saw what they did and even helped out sometimes. While I was in college, I read several books that helped me understand the importance of advocating for women’s equality and political power, so, after graduate school, and ever since, I have found ways to continue the work I began in college.

What are your three best pieces of advice for first-time, would-be activists? What is your advice for how best to get involved and not feel overwhelmed or that your activism won’t make a difference?

First, pick an issue you care deeply about so you are continually energized. Second, identify the skills you have to offer, and then offer them up to organizations or campaigns that share your interest and commitment. Third, engage others in your work so that more can get done, sooner.

Vote Her In features illustrations based on your photography of posters from the 2017 Chicago Women’s March. How did you choose which posters to photograph and highlight in Vote Her In? Do you have a favorite image?

I spent half of a day or so photographing the March, intent on sharing—through my photos—the messages marchers seemed to want to share most. I also looked for posters that were particularly compelling graphically (and there were many!). I’m not sure I have a favorite, but I do like CHILL WITH THAT MISOGYNY, the inspiration for chapter 21, which seemed to me to capture everything that needs to happen in a pithy way. Plus, the poster had pink glitter!

Over the years, you’ve been involved in a number of social justice movements and political campaigns. What stood out to you about the 2017 (and 2018) Women’s Marches, and why do you think these marches represent such a turning point for American women?

As you know, the Women’s Marches were some of the very largest marches in American history. How could one not be inspired to “keep marching” and be an activist!? Since it was clear that so many women (and men) care, based on the turnout to all of the marches around the globe, how could this not be a turning point? In some respects, it already has been, if you consider the number of women running for office and the momentum behind the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. We’ve hit the turning point.

Is there a particular woman candidate you predict (or hope!) might run for the presidency in 2020?

Honestly, I think it’s too early to make any predictions. I have met a number of the Democratic women who are considering running, and they are all supremely qualified and committed leaders. I’m looking forward to seeing who else throws their hat into the race.

What’s next for you?

Well, I’m very excited about this book’s message and using every opportunity I can to encourage women to read it, and to do whatever else they need to do, to engage with it. And working to elect the next Madam President, of course!

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