The Atlantic’s special project tracking women in leadership now is a great way to understand some of the controversies and benefits of the historic possibility of Hilary Clinton as our first female president.
“Who run the world?” Beyoncé asked half a decade ago. She was confident of the answer: girls. While her prophecy has not quite come to pass, it’s getting closer to being true. Today’s women are teaching the next generation that there are many ways to be a leader, many ways to be a girl, and many ways to grow into a strong woman.”
Emma Green’s article offers up some vital statistics that are worth considering, especially in the face of double-standard sexism in the current presidential campaign.
In the United States, women make up one-quarter of state legislators, one-fifth of Congress, and one-eighth of governors. They account for three out of nine Supreme Court justices—only four have ever served in the institution’s history—and roughly one-third of trial-court and federal court-of-appeal judges. Globally, only 21 women were serving as heads of state or government as of August 2015, and women were roughly one-fifth of the world’s legislators and members of parliament.
In the workplace, women only make up about 40 percent of the managerial class; in 2013, their median annual earnings were roughly $10,000 less than men’s. While women’s wages have increased over time, they’ve gone up significantly more for women who are earning the most money, rather than those who are earning the least. Women still do more childcare and housework than men, although men are assuming a greater share of those responsibilities. And those women who do caregiving work—whether it’s supporting families, tending the health of the elderly, or otherwise—often live without financial security or cultural recognition.”
So when you think of her significant firsts and accomplishments, it’s useful to think of them in this context, where women still are underrepresented in circles of power. Clinton and all women who achieve influence, and the men who believe in the worth of women, should remember that famous quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: “Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!” (credited to Bob Thaves)
So, as a proud holder of my very own “woman card,” I tip my hat to Hilary Clinton and this moment in history. She has already proven herself a leader I respect. She carries a heavy responsibility, representing a class of US citizens who are the real silent and underrepresented majority — women.