Presidential Equality

February 3, 1870.  That’s when the fifteenth amendment stipulated that
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

To be clear, all men regardless of race or color had the right to vote.  It would be over 50 years before women of any race or color could vote.

August 18, 1920. That’s when women received the right to vote in this country. My grandmother-in-law, who turned 100 this year, was born when women couldn’t vote. A woman with whom I spend my holidays had a mother who could not vote in the first election of her daughter’s life.  I find this unfathomable.

Never in my life have I questioned my worth when compared to my male counterparts, and I am grateful for that.  Along the way key points of the women’s intelligence dogma missed me.   Somehow I managed to excel in reading and writing AND math and science.  Girls are bad at math and science?  Who knew?  In 3rd or 4th grade I made the gifted and talented program in English, but not in math, which I found unacceptable.  Whatever stipulation the school set I must have accomplished, because I was in both the math and English G&T program from then on.  I scored a perfectly even 650 math and 650 English score on my SAT.  After high school I received scholarship offers for acting and engineering programs, and went the engineering route. My class ratio started at 8 men to every woman, but I never thought I shouldn’t be in an engineering college; I just found it really easy to find a date on Saturday nights.  After getting my degree I went to work for a big management consulting shop and picked the most challenging technical track I could find, without ever thinking if a girl belonged in that role.  Now, 20 years into my career I lead a team that is half women and half men and not a day goes by when I question if one of my male colleagues is better at his job than I am, because they are not.  We may have different skills and strengths, but they are not better.  My husband, as I have mentioned before, has had the same career duration as me and we make exactly the same amount of money.  My life is a symbol of the equality between men and women, and until recently I believed with all my heart and soul that gender equality was a reachable goal for this country.

In 2008 I held my baby girl and marveled that Barack Obama, a black man I voted for after caucusing for Hillary Clinton, was elected as president.  So much social change has been catalyzed during his 8 years in office.  Why shouldn’t the barrier of a female commander in chief be the next to fall?  In my mind it was a foregone conclusion, so I sobbed on Election Day when my dream of celebrating President Hillary Clinton’s win with my little girl evaporated.  How did a highly qualified woman lose to a man who has never served a day in office?  I don’t want my daughter live in a world where boys are just assumed to be better leaders than girls, because I have never lived in that world.  How dare this election destroy my 42 years of proof that men and women can be equal in this country?

Misogynist is being thrown around everywhere and peppers casual conversation in my circles.  Misogyny, according to the old hardback Merriam Webster Dictionary on my desk,  means the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls.  Filled with vitriol the word is spat meaning the first two words, but my fear is that it’s really the third.  Hatred and contempt could be focused on a single candidate or person.  It could mean that Hillary Clinton and her actions kept her from becoming elected.  However, I am terrified that the real problem is that the 48% of voters are actually prejudiced against my gender.  That is a much bigger wall separating women from the presidency, because that isn’t a candidate problem it’s a cultural issue.  My fear is that somehow outside of my bubble lives a country that still thinks women should be seen and not heard, honor their husband and father, and stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

We still have a chance to have our first woman president before the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage, but on the eve of this inauguration day that historical occurrence seems unlikely.  Friday I will watch Hillary attend the inauguration as the wife of our former president and worry that I live in a country that doesn’t think a woman can take the oath of office.  I will wonder if my father’s adoration and pride in me over the years would have been enhanced if only I’d been a boy, even though that thought seems impossible: he always seemed so proud of me. But he voted for our new misogynist president and I believe he is excited about the direction our country is going.  Is my own bubble more fragile than I ever imagined?  I will worry that my daughter will have to overcome obstacles that I was lucky enough to avoid through pure dumb luck.  And I will hope that the pace of change has accelerated from the late 1800s and we don’t have to wait 50 more years – the duration between black’s right to vote and women’s right to vote – before this country’s prejudice of women ends.  Will my daughter’s granddaughter be the first woman in my family to have a presidential female role model?  Will that far off progeny finally live in a world that I falsely believed I inhabited; a world where men and women are equally respected and valued?  Time will tell.

18 thoughts on “Presidential Equality

  1. Time will certainly tell, but I don’t think there’s any real prejudice against women. Against the “womyn” of this later, toxic wave of Feminists? Oh yeah! And their one of the main groups that Hillary focused her campaign on and, in doing so, focused her campaign against men.

    And, before you claim she didn’t do that – that’s my narrative and experience, which is as valid as any woman’s.

    In my opinion, all it’s going to take to have a woman as POTUS is for one real party or the other to put one up for the job who’s marginally qualified – both Obama and Trump prove that qualification is marginal at best – for the job who rejects the Womyn vs. Men paradigm, and who not only doesn’t want to play in the “Man’s World” of politics but rejects the whole notion that she has to in the first place and, hence, doesn’t try to be a poor mockery of a man and, instead is a woman with all that entails and brings to the table.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and to respond. I can understand your anger with Clinton, since you feel she waged a campaign against men, because I feel the same anger about Trump and his actions toward women. Unfortunately, I don’t think exchanging blogging comments will change either of our feelings, but I think you are brave for being willing to post on a blog of a Hillary supporter. I think the only way to start fixing the mess our political system is in is for both sides to be willing to engage in dialogue. I do agree with you that we need a woman – or any candidate – who is qualified and willing to stop playing political games and put the needs of the people first, but I do think a woman has a higher hurdle than a man to become president. I think there is still prejudice against women in positions of leadership, but I hope that the right candidate does come along so we can see what a woman can “bring to the table” as you state. Thanks again for the thoughtful comment, and now I’ll go check out your perspective on your blog.

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        1. Ha! That’s okay. You probably don’t like mine either. 🙂 But what I really hate right now is the “us versus them” attitudes going on. If I can’t even read what a fellow blogger writes then I’m part of the problem.

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        2. Well I trolled about quite a bit, so I hope your stats showed a spike today. The only thing that really shocked me were the bikini pictures: unexpected flesh! I’ll visit from time to time to see your take on the new administration.

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        3. There’s actually a lot of fine, female flesh on the blog. I both use women to illustrate (pun intended) some sociopolitical points and to just leaven the place.

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    1. I was so sick – literally, I had a nasty cold – this weekend so watched the marches in flashes of Facebook and Twitter. A couple of women in my running group went to the Denver march and said it was peaceful and heart mending. I was so glad to hear that. I’m so tired of the fighting and arguing and mistrust and yelling. I tried to watch some of the March on Washington, but there was a lot of vitriol in the D.C. speeches, so I had to turn off the TV. I’m not sure I can sustain 4 years of fury, so am trying to figure out how to make my voice heard in a productive, non-angry way.

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      1. I had so many friends go to marches around the country – St. Louis, Chicago, Vermont, Cleveland, Michigan, Vermont. It was amazing to see. I agree, my anger has been high since the inauguration and I can’t sustain that. I need some calm and peace. I am also trying to figure out the most productive way to help without adding to the division.

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  2. I, too, have felt the same pangs of remorse as you, but have now taken refuge in my philosophical view that this had to happen for women to become more involved. this is a true tipping point for us and today a woman federal judge just put a stop to the orange buffoon’s outrageous misuse of power. Look out, little man! The women have arrived on the scene en masse, and they are not happy!

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    1. Ah, I hope this election season brings Obama-like women leaders out of their comfort zone and convinces them to run for office and change the world. I’m ready to see what a new perspective could bring to the presidency.

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  3. And…coming back to a post after longer cogitating upon it and some of it postulates and theories. 😉

    Consider this: Is it prejudice against, protection of, or merely the acceptance that women aren’t “qualified” for many leadership roles? And, before anyone blows a gasket, let me explain that quandary.

    A man is his job and woman isn’t. Sadly and, in my opinion, wrongly that’s the facts on the ground. A man is expected by society and his employer or employees to put his job or business first, last, and always whereas a woman isn’t.

    If there’s an actual hurdle for women to jump, and I’m doubtful it’s as high or as prevalent as you’ve been taught to believe, it may well be less about prejudice than about either subconsciously not wanting to inflict that standard on women or accepting that women just won’t do that since they’ve not had 100s of generations of acculturation to make that normative for them.

    Look at the feminists’ rather false claims of the “wage gap.” Women don’t tend to go into the higher stress, more total wage-slave commitment demanding careers that pay more and often refuse to put in the crazy hours that men do in the jobs they do take. And, why and how should they, especially if they have families. It’s not as if their man wouldn’t be punished far worse for taking the time off instead. I know, I’ve seen it happen time and time again when men tried to put their families first.

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