Whether you are democrat, republican or independent…whether you are a fan of Hillary or not…the fact that a WOMAN is running for office, has been selected as the (expected) Democratic nominee, and actually stands a chance of being elected as the first female President of the United States of America is a pretty awesome thing.
We have seen Hillary be questioned about being able to handle political office as a woman. We have seen questioning and criticism directed at her gender, her husband’s actions and her femininity instead of her political beliefs and capabilities. We have seen incredible displays of sexism during this election season already…and she has prevailed. I don’t believe in every thing she stands for…but I do believe that the fact that she is standing up for something in the largest political race in our country makes her a role model and a trailblazer.
In a country where women are paid less, respected less, and expected to run for PTA President and not the actual President…it is refreshing to see change or at least an attempt at change.
Will Hillary get votes just because she is a woman. Probably. Will Hillary lose votes just because she is a woman. Probably. Is this the sad reality of the lack of gender equality in our country…yes.
While on paper we have made so many strides toward narrowing the ‘gap’…socially and emotionally our country is still largely unequal when it comes to gender roles, expectations and opportunities.
Here’s some sobering facts on the % of elected positions women hold:
Congress: 19.4% of 535 seats are held by women
Senate: 20% of 100 seats are held by women
U.S. House: 19.3% of 435 seats are held by women
Statewide Executives: 24.4% of 312 seats are held by women
State Legislature: 24.6% of 7383 seats are held by women
State Senate: 22.6% of 1972 seats are held by women
State House/Assembly: 25.3% of 5411 seats are held by women
Mayors (Cities over 30k): 18.8% of 1391 seats are held by women
Think about this for a second. Women make up 51% of the population, yet women hold less than 1/4 of the elected positions in this country.
How as a country can we push equality in the workplace and society if our very own governing body is so grossly unequal?
I’m not saying women should be elected just to be elected…but it’s hard to disagree that our country is largely an “old boys club” that some incredibly strong and determined women have fought tooth and nail to infiltrate.
And I can’t help but commend Hillary for being able to fight her way to Democratic Nominee.
I must be honest…I didn’t used to care. I have always been super liberal, border line socialist…but I wasn’t an “I am woman, hear me roar” kind of girl. Women’s rights weren’t something even on my radar…until I became a mom. I sat by and watched as so many amazingly talented, smart, strong women I know were pushed out or sidelined in their careers. I watched as they broke their hearts and killed themselves debating whether they should go back or stay home with their kids. Whether they should lean in or back down. Meanwhile, their husbands’ careers continued on unchanged. Their husbands never had to consider making a huge life-changing choice of career or family?
Yes, there are dads that stay home…but they are a novelty, not a norm.
I never realized how much society places value on women depending on their family status until I was a woman being put into a category based on my family/work status.
Women in the workplace are placed on the “mommy track” or forced out daily. Female celebrities are asked about their waistline, marital status and wardrobe while their male counterparts are asked about their careers, talent and accolades. We take our husbands’ names. The bill is handed to the man. We aren’t equal.
Is Hillary going to change all this…unlikely. Is she a role model for young women…absolutely. Is she a trail blazer…you bet. Is HER story making history…YES.
So whether you think she’s a nit-wit or brilliant. Whether you believe in what she believes in or think her views are wrong. Whether you will vote for her or not…we should ALL celebrate and respect the fact that she is in the race.