A female candidate for the position of Michigan attorney general has promised not to walk around in a half-open bathrobe if she wins the race in a campaign to get more women into power.

In a pointed reference to the recent sexual assault and harassment scandals surrounding Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and the Today show's Matt Lauer among others, Democrat candidate Dana Nessel said she could be more trusted not to show a penis in the workplace than any male candidates.

In her campaign advert she said: "If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it's that we need more women in positions of power, not less. So when you're choosing Michigan's next attorney general, ask yourself this: who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn't have a penis? I'd say so."

Nessel called for an all-female ticket for Michigan statewide offices in 2018, with women as governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

The civil rights lawyer also made a clear in her ad that being a woman was "not a liability, that's an asset".

She said: "I want to tell you what you can expect me not to do. I will not sexually harass my staff and I won't tolerate it in your workplace either. I won't walk around in a half-open bathrobe. And I'll continue to take all sex crimes seriously just like I did as a prosecutor.

"You won't find me using your hard-earned tax dollars to silence victims or join right-wing lawsuits that make it harder for you to get health insurance."

The unusually direct campaign advert has received a mixed response. Some have applauded Nessel for saying what needs to be said.

One Twitter user said: "I don't see the problem in having an all-female ticket for a state. There have been all-male tickets the entirety of the nation's history."

Justin Kirkland said Nessel was "making a pretty ironclad argument". Julia Baird said: "Yes, it has come to this."

Dana Nessel
Dana Nessel says being a woman is an asset, not a liability. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Others accused her of tarring all men with the same brush. Tony Randazzo said on Twitter: "I would think experience and knowledge of the legal system would be more important than whether or not you have a penis. Democrats continue to show they are a CLASSLESS Party. Ah, good character would help also."

And, among the overwhelmingly negative response on Nessel's official YouTube video, one man said: "Anyone who runs a campaign on 'I'm a woman' automatically loses any vote and credit in my mind. You do have the best awkward ad of all time though, it seems like a Comedy Central skit."

Another man said: "I would never vote for a person who would generalize an entire gender this way. Don't you know that half of your voters are male? This is a very bad strategy."