By Veronica Husmann
No matter if you are liberal, conservative, green, white, orange or striped, all of us in the Westridge community can agree that women deserve to be treated equal. The fight for women’s rights has advanced greatly throughout the past 100 years with events like the suffrage movement, the 19th amendment, the Equal Pay act, the Civil Rights act, the EEOC and many others, all which have mentally transitioned women from being viewed as inferior and limited, to strong and capable. Whether you are excited about the election results or not, there is no denying that we have achieved a huge milestone for women all over the world with this election.
Ever since April of 2015 when Hillary Clinton announced that she was running for the presidential democratic nomination, America has been challenged with accepting and supporting a woman running for office. This is something which had never even been close to achieving before.
So my question is, why is that? America claims to be an egalitarian country built on immigrants and culturally diverse ideas, so why in 2016 are we still not able to proudly say that a woman has, or currently does, run our country?
All around the world, there have been prime ministers, presidents, or rulers of countries far less advanced than America that have been led by a woman. For instance, Park Geun Hye is the president of South Korea and was elected in 2013. Korea is known to be a country of patriarchy and yet has elected a female as their leader.
In other Asian and Middle Eastern countries known to have male dominated cultures including Thailand, the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey, they all share throughout their history at least once, a woman holding the highest power in their country. In these countries that have female leaders ruling over a patriarchal society, it normalizes the belief that women could rule and be a powerful voice leading an entire nation. This helps in continuing to break subtle societally infused stereotypes that women are inferior to men
We have all heard and been affected by the understanding that the fate of America for the next four years will not be lead by a woman. Not only has there been riots in opposition to the man who was elected, but an overarching feeling that the outcome of the election will set women back at least fifty years and stunt the growing equality that we’ve all worked so hard to achieve.
But I disagree, and so should you. Not only Hillary Clinton, but all women that have defeated obstacles throughout their careers by defying stereotypes and running for positions in office, continue to inspire everyone. Girls and boys look to them and are shown positive examples by their hard work and outspoken defiance of misogynistic standards that are implemented throughout society. Although Hillary did not win, she is the closest that we have ever come to a female leader, and her example has paved the way for many future female candidates who want to achieve their dream, which includes running for president. No woman before Hillary has won the nomination for a major party. That is something for all women to be proud of. Not only that, but as of 2016, we have over 4,000 women as current officeholders serving in our government according to the Center for American Women and Politics. That is a revolutionary number more than any year prior.
So even in this emotional time, don’t be discouraged by what could have been, but be excited and motivated that our country is slowly, but surely, uniting to overcome all of these obstacles. Work to bring peace and hope rather than division and hatred. Women are powerful and strong and the last one hundred years is a prime example of just what we can overcome.