For the first time, a woman has come close to becoming the president of France. This essay examines the conditions that account for why Segolène Royal was chosen as Socialist candidate for the presidency. These conditions were above all political and were linked to key features of the Socialist Party. But her nomination also needs to be understood in the context of the parity law. To an important extent this law reinforced the gendered order, and Ségolène Royal's candidacy emerged readily in the wake of the law. The essay goes on to analyze the candidate's campaign. Before and during the primary campaign, the general framework was conducive to her ascendancy. But, after the primaries, critics were sharp: Royal was portrayed as ever less competent. Although there is a sociological basis for the voting of 2007, misogyny also played a part in Ségolène Royal's defeat.