Hillary Clinton (photo credit hillaryclinton.com) will accept the presidential nomination and no female politician before her was so close to winning the White House. How important is this moment in regard to political representation of women and maybe also more broadly how important is this moment for American society? Read few comments.
Karen O’Connor, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Department of Government, American University
Tonight will be a night of many tears. Women my age grew up never thinking we would have a woman president in out lifetimes. Her nomination is the culmination of work begun by women in the 1840s. Her nomination is truly historic. It is ever more poignant because, as someone who has devoted her life to public service, she is running against a school house bully who has spent his life in pursuit of profit off of the backs of others. Whether or not the Democratic nominee was a woman, Donald Trump, as President so artfully explained last night, would bring this country back into the dark ages for the new America…..one made up of men and women, gays and straights, rich and poor, myriad colors, ethnicities, and beliefs. All would be in jeopardy should Trump become president.
Betty Winfield, Professor Emerita of Journalism, University of Missouri
The nomination of HR Clinton is a watershed moment for women and politics in the United States. While more women than ever have been in the U.S. Congress there is still not parity with the country’s demographics.
With a woman as President, a president likely to pick women for cabinet members, there will be a model for American women, both democratic and republican, to take a chance and run for office all the way down to the country’s city councils, county commissioners, and school boards. Moreover, this election will set an example of “not giving up” when a candidate loses.
If unsuccessful, no matter how painful that can be, U.S. women candidates have been reluctant to run a second time or even a third time. Hillary did not do that; she lost in a close presidential primary race in 2008 and she came back, she “rose again.”
In addition, in this age of women more and more becoming business and education and sports leaders, Clinton’s nomination points out that it is also possible to be the country’s top political leader.
The country has indeed come a long way from 1872 Suffragette Victoria Woodhull being ridiculed when she ran for president –the first woman to do so, or from 1964 when Senator Margaret Chase Smith was being ignored even after she received a nomination for President at the GOP national convention, or from 1972 when African-American Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm with her slogan “Unbought and Unbossed,” was the first woman to be nominated at the Democratic National Convention in 1972 – all women who cracked that proverbial glass ceiling. Hillary Rodham Clinton shattered it this week.
Ange-Marie Hancock, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Southern California
This is a very momentous occasion in the United States, which has lagged behind many countries in having female leadership at the top of the government. Germany, Great Britain, even Pakistan, Sierra Leone and India have all had female leaders. Thus the possibility of having Hillary Clinton as the leader of the United States would bring the United States into line with many other countries that have had successful female leadership.
While many women leaders have served before in other nations, Clinton’s election would be more momentous for political representation for women in two ways. First, the United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, and having a woman at the head of that nation would given women political representation at the highest echelon of power. The second reason is more tied to who Clinton is as a leader. Clinton has always had a series of female staffers and collaborated with other women leaders to provide opportunities for women to represent themselves. She worked with other female senators while serving in the Senate and is likely to have a cabinet that includes significant representation for women. This is not always true of other female leaders – they often surround themselves with men. So it is important for women’s political representation that Clinton is a leader who seeks to have a balance of women and men rather than just men or just women as her closest advisors.
I see her in the mode of an Angela Merkel, despite their differing ideologies Clinton is more hawkish than other U.S. Democrats and I expect she will be a strong leader in areas that are not traditionally thought of as female domains.
Darrell West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
This is an important moment because it is the first time a major party in America has nominated a woman. That breaks the barrier that has existed for a long time and demonstrated women can be competitive in seeking the highest office in the land. Her political success will give hope to others considering this kind of run, and encourage them to make their own races. It will end the myth that only men can serve as president.
Myra Gutin, Professor of Communication, Rider University, Author of the book – The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the Twentieth Century
Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for President is historic. Among political scientists and historians, the general belief was that a person of color would have to win the White House before the country would elect a woman. As President Obama was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012, the time was right for a female candidate, the it was understood, that a female candidate would have to be perfect, or nearly perfect. The impact of Secretary Clinton’s nomination is monumental, it will empower women, and I suspect we will see more women entering public service and politics as a result. This is a critical moment for American society because we have to decide if we follow Mr. Trump, who has broken all of the political rules but tells us that he alone can make American great again, or Secretary Clinton, who argues that America is great, and through her efforts, she can work with us to make it even greater. This is a major ideological divide, and one that we’ll see play out in the November elections.
Secretary Clinton has broken through barriers that existed for well over 200 years. Hopefully, new female candidates will take advantage of her pioneering efforts and work for the public good.
Philip Seib, Professor of Journalism, Public Diplomacy, and International Relations, University of Southern California
This is a dramatic and important moment for American politics and U.S. society, in practical as well as symbolic ways. With discrimination against women still common in employment – in salary differences between women and men and other matters – having a woman as president will help ensure greater equity in the workplace and make certain that other issues of special importance to women receive the importance they deserve. As for symbolism, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is comparable to Barack Obama’s being the first African-American president. This is about barriers coming down; long overdue and very necessary.