President Obama was sworn into his second-term in the White House just four months ago, but the media is already speculating on possible candidates for the 2016 presidential race. Right now, there is one democrat who is on everyone’s list of potential front runners – Hillary Clinton. Could 2016 be the year that the United States finally elects a woman to its most powerful position? Some recent polls are indicating that a female commander-in-chief could be in our near future. I am hopeful and optimistic that 2016 will be a landmark election and the United States will finally join the list of nations with a female head of state.
Hillary Clinton already has strong support from her party; a Quinnipac poll of democrats reported that 65% said they would vote for Clinton if she decided to run in a presidential primary. It actually seems that American voters on both ends of the political spectrum are ready to elect a female president. A poll conducted by Emily’s List found that 86% of voters believe that America is ready to elect a female president, and 72% actually believe that it is likely to happen in the next election. This poll demonstrates a huge shift in thinking – Gallup has asked American voters every year if they would endorse a female candidate for president and as a nation, we were not always on board. In 1937, only 33% said that they would vote for a female candidate for president. Luckily, this percentage improved to 54% in 1958, 76% in 1978 and to 92% in 1999. It took a while, but the American people are finally recognizing women’s ability to succeed at all levels of government.
In terms of representation in government, women have made enormous strides over the past 40 years, but there is still a great deal of work to be done. Electing a female president would send a strong message to girls across the country about their potential in politics. I believe that having a woman president would have a huge impact on the overall status of women in this country. Recent years have shown that there are severe implications of women’s lack of political power in this country. Without equal representation, women are viewed as a “special interest group” and issues that are vital to women’s health and well-being are marginalized and overlooked
According to this report by American University, in 1979, only one woman had ever been elected to the U.S Senate and women made up only 5% of the House of Representatives. Today, the numbers are improved but are nowhere near parity; women comprise only 8% of the mayors of major cities, 12% of state governors, and around 20% of the Senate and the House of Representatives. While this is a marked improvement from the 1970s, the U.S. is progressing very slowly compared to the rest of the world. Ninety countries, including Rwanda, Cuba, and Uganda, have a higher percentage of women in their legislatures. For a nation that claims to be a leader in human rights, we are falling behind much less developed nations when it comes to gender equality in government.
The possibility of a woman in the White House has journalists and political commentators talking, and it seems that the idea is already gaining popularity and momentum. Last week, EMILY’s List announced their “Madam President” campaign that aims to help put a woman in the Oval Office in the next election. Founded in 1985, EMILY’s List is a political action committee that works to help elect pro-choice Democratic women. This group is stressing the fact that while Hillary Clinton is a great candidate, there are many other women who are up for the challenge as well. Even if HIllary decides not to run, they are confidant that other qualified women will have a strong campaign. Their list of candidates includes Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Washington Governor, Christine Gregoire.
Check out this inspirational video created by EMILY’s List to promote their Madam President campaign!
- Hillary Clinton is great, but look at other women, too, activists say (sacbee.com)
- EMILY’s List wants ‘Madam President’ (politico.com)
- A woman in the White House? (tv.msnbc.com)
- Women’s group says U.S. is ready for female president (wqad.com)