Hillary is a woman. It matters.


Mayor Strickland speaks to the Upper School in the Great Hall.

Lexy Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief

For the first time in history, we were facing a strong possibility of a female President. Although some argue that gender was not a major factor in the recent election, I believe it mattered very much that Hillary Clinton is a woman, for three major reasons.


Hillary has had to overcome sexism throughout her campaign, and started at a disadvantage to Donald Trump due to her gender. Research by Dr. Cecilia Hyunjung Mo, an assistant professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, concludes that female candidates must be more qualified than their male opponents to do well in an election, because many voters have a hard time seeing women as leaders.

“Based upon my research, Hillary Clinton and [former Republican primary candidate] Carly Fiorina have the challenge of clearly demonstrating to voters that they are more qualified than their male counterparts. And they have the additional challenge of figuring out how to be more qualified in the ways that matter to most voters today.” (Check out the video “Sexism rules in the ballot booth unless voters have more information” by Vanderbilt University.)

There have been many studies about how men seem predisposed to interrupting women (See, for example, “Why men are prone to interrupting women” by Alice Robb on NYTLive). In the first Presidential debate, according to Vox, Mr. Trump interrupted Mrs. Clinton 51 times, while she interrupted him 17 times.  

Comments, cartoons and other media about Hillary’s body, hair, clothing, voice and temperament reveal that Hillary suffered more and harsher criticism due to her gender than her competitor.

Here are some examples:

  1. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Hillary’s reaction to Monica Lewinsky’s testimony about her affair with Bill Clinton proves Hillary Clinton is “too stupid” to be president.
  2. “Lock her up” has been a popular chant at the Republican Nation Convention and Trump rallies. (For those who have read Jane Eyre, consider the theme of calling passionate women crazy and locking them up…)
  3. Pat Garofalo, Candidate for Minnesota State Representative, tweeted “I don’t have an ex-wife. But if I did, she would sound like Hillary Clinton.”
  4. A woman created buttons that she sells on Ebay and Etsy featuring Monica Lewinsky’s face featuring the lines “I Got the ‘Job’ Done When Hillary Couldn’t” and “Good Luck Hillary—Don’t Blow It.”
  5. Among the anti-Hillary buttons at the Republican National Convention was: “KFC Hillary Special: 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts, left wing.”

Hillary’s policies would have impacted women positively. According to Former U.S. Ambassador and Annie Wright alumna Pamela Hyde Smith (see the full interview with her on page xx), “Mrs. Clinton has a very long history of deep concern for women and children. She also had very detailed plans for family leave, closing the wage gap, all kind of practical steps that would make life easier, better, and more equal for more women. It’s hard to imagine that the overwhelming majority of women who prefer her are not thinking about those practical policies that she has put in her platform.”


We owe it to all women, now and in previous generations, to break through the barrier of the all-male Presidency. We asked three of our local politicians, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, State Representative Laurie Jinkins, and Senator Jeannie Darneille of Tacoma’s 27th District (where Annie Wright resides), why it matters that Hillary Clinton is a woman.

Mayor Strickland:

Electing the first woman president of the United States would have been an historic event because even in 2016, women are grossly underrepresented in politics,” said Strickland. “We are half the voting population but roughly 20 percent of elected officials at the city, state and federal levels. That can only change if we address the social, cultural and structural barriers that discourage women from running for office.

Women who rise to positions of leadership often share the ability to collaborate and negotiate because we know that cultivating relationships leads to positive outcomes. If the United States hopes to solve the challenges facing our cities, nation and the world, we cannot squander the opportunity to elect the most qualified candidate who happens to be a woman. This will encourage more women to run for office and bring more voices to the table.”

Jeannie Darneille:

We were on the verge of possibly electing our first woman President of the United States. Think for a moment about the chain of events that has brought us to this incredible time in our history.  The suffragettes gave up everything, some even their own lives, to advance the status of women in our country. They fought for over 80 years for the right to vote, and 96 years have passed since women won that right. Yes, they fought for a woman’s right to vote, but their vision was so much bigger. They wanted women to vote, but they also saw a time when women would own property, when women led businesses, when women controlled their own health care, when women would be allowed to become lawyers, when women would become lawmakers, and even when a woman would become President.

Of course, there are voters who didn’t want to vote for a woman for President simply because she is a woman. But if not now, when will we have this opportunity again? The vision of the suffragettes can be fulfilled and should be fulfilled in 2016.

Think of their efforts to improve the status of women as though they had entered a long relay race. Picture the team of women running an 800 meter relay race where jumping hurdle after hurdle was required. We are near the end. It would be unacceptable for the last runner on our relay team to walk off the track before she jumped the very last hurdle, right? We should have elected Hillary Clinton because she is qualified AND she is a woman. All of the women past and present who have voted, owned property, owned businesses, become lawyers and judges and State Senators like me should have been cheering her on to finish our 176 year long race.”

Laurie Jinkins:

“She never gives up. After her efforts at major health reform failed in the ’90’s, did she give up? No, she went right back to work and created the Children’s Health Insurance Program, so that our children would have healthcare coverage. She recognized that Obamacare was a step forward, but also recognizes that we need to keep on making improvements.  

After 240 years of men holding the presidency, some great presidents, some not so great, there’s nothing more transformational that could happen than electing a woman to serve as President of the United States of America. And that woman should have been Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate to ever have run for the office.”

If Hillary Clinton was elected to be the 45th president of the United States, she would have shown young girls throughout the nation that women are capable of anything that men are capable of and more. Clearly, sexism is alive and well in today’s society, but if we continue to stand up and fight against it, we can overcome it.