March is the designated month to celebrate the accomplishments and many contributions women have made in this country. What started out as Women’s history week, Congress passed a resolution in 1987 proclaiming March to be Women’s History Month.
Some of the many achievements women have made are taking place locally. If Rita Ali continues with a successful run in the general election, for the first time in the history of Peoria, two African American women will serve on City Council. Denise Moore was the first African American city councilwoman in Peoria. On a state level, Chicago will elect their first female, African American mayor in 2019. On a national level, a record number of women (110), went to Congress in the recent 2018 midterm election. There were many firsts for these women: the first openly LGBT, the first Muslim woman, and the first Native American. Currently, four females have announced they are running for President of the United States. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Kamala Harris, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard have all announced their 2020 presidential aspirations. Globally, several countries from Argentina to the United Kingdom, to Canada and Germany have elected female presidents or prime ministers to run their country.
The four women that are running for president bring diversity in terms of ethnicity and gender to the political field. All have had successful careers before entering the world of politics. History shows this country has a different set of standards and stereotypes for women in high positions. Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential candidate to presidential candidate Walter Mondale. The public came after her with vengeance when questions about her finances were disclosed on congressional financial statements. Lightweight stuff when you consider financial implications with the current president. Hillary Clinton, a lawyer, senator, and U.S. diplomat ran for President of the United States. She lost to a candidate who happened to be an African American male in 2008. In 2016 she was the first female to win the nominating bid to become president. She lost that election to an unqualified, rich, white male. The debate as to why Clinton lost to Trump and Russian collusion can continue in another article. We still must ask ourselves why more white women did not vote for a qualified, white female presidential nominee.
Despite the advancements women have made in education and the workplace, they continue to be outnumbered in boardrooms, top executive positions, and politics. Pew Research Center suggests women comprise less than 5% of executive positions held in fortune 500 companies. Culture, stereotypes, and lack of leadership are some of the barriers preventing women from rising to key positions. Motherhood may make it more difficult for some women to advance their careers and compete for top jobs. Some stereotypical views come from a biblical belief that men are supposed to be head of the house. The “house” may also translate to the white house. In many top positions, leadership and power go hand in hand. Power is something many men are not willing to give up. Some believe women must do more than men to advance their career.
Getting a person elected for president should not be based on gender but their ability to get the job done. Is the United States ready to elect a female president?
Following is a simple poll on women and leadership. Please take a few seconds and complete these two questions: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8KJBZ9G