GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, seen here, is one of 13 women who could figure big in the 2024 election cycle. (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

There’s no avoiding it: 2024 is a presidential election year.

President Joe Biden will square off against a Republican challenger (most likely former President Donald Trump, if polls are to be believed). And it’s already shaping up to be a charged race in an already-charged atmosphere. Hot-button issues like abortion, domestic economic woes and foreign wars, which are already inflaming Americans, loom large as part of voters’ calculus as well.

When it comes to women in politics, however, Americans by and large aren’t feeling much of anything. A Pew Research Center poll published last fall revealed that a 64% majority of Americans aren’t concerned about having a woman president, and roughly half are unbothered by the lack of representation for women in elected office overall.

Yet women could still play significant roles in the year to come. The Center for American Women and Politics said, in a recent study, that we are in an “era of unrivaled potential” to increase women’s influence throughout our political sphere. Below, we’ve singled out 13 women and women-run organizations with the potential to make big splashes in 2024 – for better or worse.


Vice President Kamala Harris. (Credit: GPA Photo Archive on Flickr)

Kamala Harris

In 2020, she made history by becoming the first woman vice president. She’s now set to join Biden on his 2024 ticket. But in addition to the works the former California AG already has planned for this year – for example, a national tour championing reproductive freedoms – we’re also including her because she serves as second-in-command to an 81-year-old POTUS. (The average life expectancy in the U.S., for the record, is about 77 years.) Depending on the results of the election, Harris could feasibly be called upon to assume the top job – another “first,” if so.


Attendees of a Reproductive Freedom for All march. (Credit: VCU Capital News Service, Flickr)

Reproductive Freedom for All

Formerly known as NARAL, this women-run national nonprofit has been at the forefront of the fight for abortion rights since its founding in 1969. It rebranded just last year, to illustrate that “Reproductive Freedom for All is a demand, a call to action, and a vision of the future we’re fighting for,” per group president Mini Timmaraju. The Washington, D.C., organization also sponsors public sex education efforts and supports policy measures guaranteeing other facets of women’s health.


Rep. Katie Porter. (Credit: YouTube screenshot)

Katie Porter

Rep. Porter, who presently serves California’s 47th Congressional District, is now vying for the senate seat left open by predecessor Dianne Feinstein’s retirement and subsequent passing. She’ll be facing off against fellow state legislators Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee. Porter, who enjoys some online acclaim due to her use of whiteboards and direct manner in taking powerful people to task, told NPR that she’s primed for the job. “You have to know how to juggle. … And trust me – as a single mom of young kids, that’s something I know how to do.”


Rep. Barbara Lee. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Barbara Lee

The current California representative has accomplished a great deal with her 30-plus years in elected office – writing California’s Violence Against Women Act and the California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act, and advocating for HIV/AIDS and cannabis justice efforts, among myriad other policy wins. And, she made history numerous times along the way as a Black woman in U.S. politics. Now, she’s back on the campaign trail, pursuing Feinstein’s vacated Senate seat against Porter.


Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Nikki Haley

Among the non-Trump possibilities for the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, the former UN Ambassador, historic South Carolina governor and state representative is a front-runner who is gaining in the polls. (Though, her town-hall blunder around the cause of the Civil War – yes, really – could hurt her forward momentum.) In both words and actions, she has shown herself to have conservative beliefs that rival Trump’s in their extremity – refusing to expand Medicaid and happily labeling herself a union buster as governor, while voicing support for former GOP candidate and Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ inflammatory “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.


New York State Rep. Elise Stefanik. (Credit: Elise Stefanik Facebook page)

Elise Stefanik

She represents New York’s 21st congressional district, and is also chair of the House Republican Conference – making her the fourth-ranking House Republican. Her star rose recently following a hearing on antisemitism during which Stefanik grilled three university presidents as to their views regarding hate speech on campus – in the fallout, universities scrambled, then apologized, and Harvard University president Claudine Gay resigned amid the controversy (as did Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania). Though she’s garnering buzz as a potential VP pick for Trump, her big plans for 2024 feature a strategy to expand Republican control throughout the Empire State.


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

Kristi Noem

During her most recent State of the State address, the Republican governor of South Dakota focused on achievements made during her five years (thus far) in office, such as trades-focused workforce development programs. Many of Noem’s policies skew “red,” revealing her broadly conservative, anti-abortion beliefs. Hers is a frequently recurring name in conversations on Trump’s prospective 2024 running mate.


New York Attorney General Letitia James. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Letitia James

The New York Attorney General has been keeping busy. In October 2023, she proceeded to trial against former President Donald Trump on financial fraud charges. (Closing arguments took place mid-January.) She is also preparing for another trial, against National Rifle Association head honcho Wayne LaPierre, over allegations of tax fraud. They are merely the latest in a string of cases against powerful, high-profile men, which also includes former New York governor Andrew Cuomo. In addition to her achievements, James made history several times over when elected to her current role – she is the first woman, and the first Black person, to win it.


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

Kathy Hochul

She first assumed the governorship of New York in 2021, amid predecessor Cuomo’s lurid ouster, then secured the seat in the 2022 midterm elections. Her performance since has been a mixed bag of high-profile policy wins on reproductive and women’s health, and losses around judge appointments and proposed housing legislation. Her State of the State address cited lofty ideals but ultimately failed to wow – a vulnerable start to 2024 for the “blue dog” Democrat.


Members of Moms for Liberty. (Credit: Moms for Liberty Instagram account)

Moms for Liberty

This conservative organization has GOP presidential candidates courting its collective favor. Last year, they addressed its annual conference – including Trump, who called them a “grassroots juggernaut” during his address. This 120,000-strong group largely works in schools, attempting to enact book bans and discourage, if not outright defeat, scholastic policies that are inclusive of people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. Though recently embroiled in a sex scandal, Moms for Liberty presently remains quite influential. And in light of its work, the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed it a far-right extremist organization.


Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker. (Credit: Philadelphia City Council, Flickr)

Cherelle Parker

She made history last November by becoming Philadelphia’s first woman mayor. (Parker is also the city’s 100th mayor overall.) Prior to assuming the role, she served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 2005 to 2022. Parker hit the ground running upon her inauguration – signing three executive orders around public safety and governmental transparency as part of a bold 100-day plan designed to cement Philly as “the safest, cleanest, and greenest big city in the nation.”


Rep. Liz Cheney. (Credit: Liz Cheney, @RepLizCheney)

Liz Cheney

Cheney has very much established herself outside of the considerable shadow of her father, former vice president Dick Cheney. First, she had her own noteworthy political career – until last year, she represented Wyoming in the U.S. House. Then, she led a vocal opposition to Trump, serving as vice chair of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol – sacrificing party status and her own renomination along the way. Now, she’s considering a third-party White House run.


Activist Olivia Julianna. (Credit: Olivia Julianna Instagram account)

Olivia Julianna

She came to prominence when Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s fat-shamed her online – and she used the opportunity to raise more than $700,000 toward abortion care or people throughout America. She has since become a well-regarded Gen Z voice, speaking to the masses via TikTok – where she has over 650,000 followers – and working for a time at nonprofit Gen Z for Change. In 2024, she will turn 21 years old and cast her first presidential ballot – and she wants Democrats with her at the polls. People “need to turnout to vote for down ballot races to protect their communities and states,” she says.