Women are recognized for their patience and perseverance. It took that and a lot more for Hillary Clinton to become the first woman to be nominated for President of the United States by a major political party on July 26, 2016. In an article which came out a few days later in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof presented a case for how men win when women win.
First, a little history…..It started 146 years ago when in 1870 Victoria Woodhull declared herself a candidate for President. That was 50 years before women even gained the right to vote. 14 years later Belva Ann Lockwood upset the National Woman Suffrage Association with her decision to run as a presidential candidate for the National Equal Rights Party.
Women won the right to vote in 1920, but were virtually absent from presidential politics until 1964 when Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman elected to both the House and the Senate, became the first credible female candidate. A few women followed, though none made it too far, rarely lasting beyond the primaries. There was Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink who ran for President in the Oregon primary in 1972. At the 1972 Democratic Convention, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, received 151 delegate votes. The closest women came after that was the vice president candidacy. In 1984 Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro was chosen by Senator Walter Mondale to be his running mate. The ticket lost to Reagan and Bush. In 1988 there were short-lived efforts for the presidency by Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and Senator Carol Moseley Braun as Democrats and Elizabeth Dole as a Republican in 2000. Finally Governor Sarah Palin was chosen by Republican John McCain to be his vice presidential running mate in 2008.
Today enough men and women voting in the primaries supported Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make her the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party. What will it take for her to be elected? Will Americans benefit by a woman winning the presidency? According to Nicholas Kristof, “when women advance, humanity advances.” And research supports this claim. Here’s a few key points that Kristof makes in his recent New York Times article:
- As early as the 19th century after women gained the right to vote, politicians tried to influence women by providing more funds to public health and childhood health. This resulted in saving 20,000 boys’ and girls’ lives in one year alone.
- “In one study of 12-member teams of students running businesses, teams that were all male or all female didn’t perform as well as those that were more evenly divided.”
- Scholars have also found that female-owned businesses (and companies abroad with more women on the boards) were less likely than male-owned businesses to lay off employees during the Great Recession. This hurt short-term profits but may have been worth it to sustain morale and retain talent.
- Kristof concludes his article by saying, “the evidence is also overwhelming that when women gain power and a seat at the table, we men benefit as well.”
There are countless articles and research that provide evidence of why the time is right for a woman to lead our country and how women have served countries effectively around the globe. A woman leader with experience who has a track record of working positively for the welfare of all Americans is a good choice to lead our nation. That woman just happens to be Hillary Clinton. No candidate is perfect, just as no human being is perfect. It is time to become aware of the unconscious bias men and women have about women leaders. If not now, when?