My Daughter Asked Why There Has Never Been A Female President

We were driving home from the gym this weekend, singing loudly to songs from The Greatest Showman when my daughter asked a question that made me stop. I turned the music down and asked her to repeat herself. I thought I heard wrong.

“Why hasn’t there ever been any girl presidents?” she asked me for a second time, out of the blue.

never been a female president - The Everyday Mom Life

My inner feminist cheered. She was thrilled that this 5-year-old girl had randomly asked about this on her own and had the aptitude to realize something was off. She was raring to go – ready to explain all the injustices of the world.

As a whole, I was completely caught off guard. We had been rockin’ out to This Is The Greatest Show and I, for once, was not thinking about worrying about the politics of the world.

I had to think about this answer though. Despite my political beliefs, I didn’t want to come off too pushy and too angry about everything of late.

In my head the answer was easy: The electoral college, Russia and people thinking it would be a grand idea to protest by not voting or voting for a third-party candidate. The feminist on my shoulder has another version of that answer that includes more venom. However, all of that is too complicated for a 5-year-old.

Besides, I realized she wasn’t just asking me about Hillary and Trump. She was asking me a broader question. Someone had explained to her that there had NEVER EVER been a girl president.

This wasn’t about the politics of today. This was about the history of it all.

This was about helping a little girl understand something she didn’t see in the world yet. She still doesn’t know that society will try to place limits on her potential because of her gender.

Because she doesn’t understand this one fact, it didn’t make sense to her that only boys had been president.

I didn’t want to be the one to enlighten her to the history of the world and the way it has treated women – mainly because I was afraid I’d get it wrong and give her anxiety.

She’s already a worrier, just like me. I often try to soften any issues so I don’t stress her out. Nothing says stress like, “They don’t think we’re as awesome as they are so, consciously or unconsciously, they limit us.”

Currently, she doesn’t see herself any differently in potential than the little boys she plays tag with at school. She knows they have different anatomy, but other than that, she believes they can (and should) get the same opportunities. In kindergarten that means they each get to be to be line leader, lunch helper and whatever other miscellaneous jobs are given to children their age to make them feel helpful, important and give them a sense of responsibility. She knows they can so all the jobs just the same.

I wanted to avoid all of that but give her an answer based in history and in facts (remember facts!), and one that wasn’t vilifying anyone.

For a split second I thought about telling her that there haven’t been a lot of women who have run for president. While technically true, I didn’t want to give her the impression that woman haven’t wanted to run for president or didn’t care about it.

Then I thought about telling her that not enough people have voted for a woman to be president. But, that wasn’t technically true either. It just wasn’t enough people in the right districts in the right states.

(Keep in mind this whole train of thought happened in about 15 seconds. I’m a girl and mom and I can overanalyze the shit out of things in less time than most people can speak a sentence.)

I took a deep breath and went for it – trying to break it down to basic facts.

“Because to be president you have to run,” I said. “Then all the people have to vote and not enough people in the right places have voted for a girl yet.”

“All the people have to vote?” she asked.

“Well, they should but some don’t,” I said. “Ideally, they should all vote.”

“Even the people in Texas?” she asked. Her cousins live in Texas so I’m guessing that’s why she mentioned it.

Florida and Ohio are usually the sticking points, I thought.

“Yes, but lots of other states are important too,” I said.

“So someday a girl will be president…maybe,” she stated.

It wasn’t something she was asking me. It sounded like it was something she was saying to reassure herself. The, “maybe,” she attached to the end of the sentence was a little too wistful for my taste. My inner feminist thought so too.

“Hopefully,” I said, just as wistfully.

She seemed satisfied with the conversation, so I left it alone. I believed I had been able to get in enough of the highlights to get the point across.

For now, I needed to let the little girl in the back seat be a little girl. She doesn’t need to worry herself over this issue yet. She just needed a question answered in a way simple enough for her to understand and broad enough to not cause worry about her future as a girl.

However, when she gets there – when she realizes that with each step forward, the world will try to push her back – I’ll be there to help her tip toe towards her goals. And I’ll probably be singing show tunes.

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Everyday Mom Rachel
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  • Courtney March 05, 2018 08.09 pm

    Haha, I am also a girl and mom and I can overanalyze the shit out of things in less time than most people can speak a sentence. Great post!

  • Rose March 06, 2018 12.06 am

    I think you answered her as best as you could. I try hard to not add my opinion in questions as well. I leave it broad with plenty of leeway. I would like to think one day we will get a female president!

  • Jen ~ The Tipsy Mama March 06, 2018 01.17 am

    Such a hard question to answer for even a grown woman, let alone a 6 year old! Great job explaining things in the best way possible for her to gain an understanding and allowing her hope to stand!

  • Candy March 06, 2018 01.32 am

    She has an inquisitive mindset, kind of like my son. He does not accept the way things are, perhaps he dreams to change it. Glad you stuck to the facts, sometimes explaining can be hard, and needs several dialogues to fully express.

  • Marcie March 06, 2018 02.08 am

    That’s so great that your daughter is so observant and is asking the right questions. We need more inquisitive minds like this!

  • Lexi March 06, 2018 02.19 am

    This post made me emotional! My daughter is still so little but every time I see the news I wonder how I would explain alll of the current events to her. I’m going to have to learn to control my inner feminist warrior too 😅

  • Jennifer Prince March 06, 2018 02.38 am

    I’m so glad that she is asking questions! She is sure to make a difference when she gets older. She’s on the right path! 🙂

  • Carolina @sonoma County Kids March 06, 2018 04.24 am

    A very hard question. But I believe the future is female.

  • Jenni LeBaron March 06, 2018 05.31 am

    Great post! I hope by the time she’s old enough to run herself that there will have been several female presidents.

  • Luci March 06, 2018 06.37 am

    Your daughter is wise beyond her years. You answered her better than I could if my future daughter ever asked me about a female president.

  • kumamonjeng March 06, 2018 08.53 am

    What a smart daughter you have who asked such a good questions. We certainly need to have some tactic in answering this question.

  • Evelyn, PathofPresence 🦋 March 06, 2018 10.44 am

    A magical teaching moment for an amazing mommy. Thank you for the consciousness you bring in raising an awakened future leader. Can’t wait to see what happens next. 👍🏼

  • Kelsee March 06, 2018 02.16 pm

    I am a girl mom! Growing up our daughters to be brave, strong and confident is so important because THEY could be the female presidents of the future! Great job dealing with this situation mom!!

  • Jennifer March 06, 2018 02.35 pm

    I could really relate to this article. My daughter is 3 and could very well be asking me the same question soon. I know I was reading “too much” into it but the other day my daughter asked me if Zuma on the Paw Patrol was a boy or a girl? I simply answered boy but my mind immediately rushed to the fact that Skye was the only girl in the group. At least the show has a female mayor but she is always getting into trouble and calling on the Paw Patrol for help!

  • Mom in the six March 06, 2018 03.32 pm

    What an exciting time to raise a daughter. I see so much hope for females and am excited to see my daughter grow up with so many new opportunities and hopefully respect for her gender. Well done mama!

  • Elizabeth O March 06, 2018 03.57 pm

    You did really well to answer your daughters question honestly while protecting her from worrying about politics. Hopefully we will get a woman president one day!

  • Holly Lasha March 06, 2018 06.00 pm

    You have such a great perspective. Love this. Thank you for the encouraging words….it really made me think.

  • Candice March 06, 2018 06.13 pm

    This made my heart cheer! We could all learn a lot from kids.<3

  • Kristeena March 06, 2018 06.37 pm

    what a tough question and you answered it as best as you could, mama! Although I’m not american, the majority of my family is, and I truly believe that one day you’ll have a female president.

  • Twinspirational March 06, 2018 09.11 pm

    What a great way to answer the question. Hopefully we will see a girl president in our lifetimes (or hers).

  • Jasmine Hewitt March 07, 2018 02.46 am

    I think you handled this very well! good answers, Mom!

  • Mommy Jhy | March 07, 2018 02.26 pm

    She is like my daughters – they think that they can do everything that boys can do also. Well, aside from giving birth, I think women can really do everything that men do. Oh btw, we are from the Philippines where we already had 2 female Presidents and 2 female Vice Presidents.

  • Nathan Reid March 08, 2018 11.55 am

    Am not so interested in politics. But that question coming out of the blue from a young girl… i think you gave her a good answer.

  • Sacha March 08, 2018 09.38 pm

    There probably will be in the future.

  • Brooke Bent March 16, 2018 03.33 am

    Hi Rachel!

    Wow what an inspiring post! Love you and your daughter already 🙂

    My daughter is just now reaching the asking-questions age. You made me think about how I’m going to respond to some of life’s most difficult questions that kids ask. Yikes! You did great!

    When asked questions on the spot, I always find myself giving lengthy answers that my two-year-old would lose interest in. Any tips for answering kid questions in a simple and short way?

    I’ll be sure to pin this post!



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