Yesterday was a historic day. For the first time since the United States was founded, a woman was nominated as a presidential candidate by one of the two major parties. Hillary Clinton has come a long way to reach this moment. Much has happened between 1920, the year in which Amendment 19 was ratified, and today.
For a woman to have the possibility of becoming president is a sign of progress in our society. She now could go beyond one of the pillars of American sexism, and hold the nation’s highest political office. However, it took too long for this to happen in our country. In the past 50 years, approximately 52 countries of all development levels have had female heads of state. It was about time for that possibility to become a reality here.
Women have been part of the presidential ticket twice as candidates for vice president. Both of them, former Democratic Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and former Governor Sarah Palin in 2008, were surprise candidates chosen more for their potential to attract a group of voters than for their record. That isn’t the case for Clinton. It’s hard to find a woman, or a man, who is better prepared than her to lead the country, because of her experience and knowledge of governing.
Without a doubt, the election of a female president will be a positive sign in overcoming discrimination in our society, as it was with Barack Obama as the first African-American president. At the same time, just like Obama’s win was far from being the end of racism, Hillary’s election won’t put an end to sexism.
Clinton’s election is possible at a time when job discrimination, with salary gaps between men and women, is as current as is the absence of women in top leadership positions in industries where they are the majority of the workforce, like health care and finance.
In politics, women have raised their profile, but they’re still far from having proportional representation. The possible election of Hillary Clinton won’t immediately change the present. But it will plant a transformative seed, signaling that there are no limits to the growth and participation of women in our society.
Undoubtedly, this is an excellent outlook and a fair one.