1st Woman President Won’t Be Inaugurated Today

hillary-girls-can-grow-up-to-be-presidentBy Pamela Robinson

When I was a girl growing up in Iowa in the 1950s, my parents and teachers told me, along with the boys, that when I grew up I could be whatever I wanted to be, even President of the United States.

In my world, adults told the truth, or what they thought to be the truth, and I believed them. 

I didn’t want to be President, but I thought I could.

I didn’t want to be President, but I did think I could be if I wanted to, because girls were equal with boys.

The older I got, however, the more I realized it was a lie.

The first time I began to question the truth of it I was in high school, with a secret desire to be a doctor. But my counselor told me,

You don’t want to be a doctor, you want to go to Iowa State and be a home economist.

It was an easy path to take. I had to pay all my college expenses by working as a waitress. An alternative was to be a veterinarian, but there were no women studying it at that time.

I was more qualified. My husband made more money.

Fast forward to the years in Iowa City, I was now a wife and mother, working to make it possible for my husband to go to college.

I applied for a job in a research lab at State University of Iowa (SUI), having done well in my chemistry classes at Iowa State. I had a B.S., and I got the job, which was full-time.

My husband also worked in a research lab for SUI, part-time, with no chemistry and no degree. He made more money hourly than I did. Hmmm.

There’s something wrong with this picture, but I still believed the lie enough to tell it to my two daughters. They could be anything they wanted to be, even if I had not quite been able to make it happen.

Women should not be guaranteed equal rights?

gender-inequalityThe Civil Rights Movement made the possibilities look brighter. But the government would not pass the Equal Rights Amendment, guaranteeing equal rights for women.

I was busy. I thought to myself it would pass soon, after all, I was equal wasn’t I?

My children grew up, and some things were more equal in California than the Midwest. I had friends from many countries and ethnicities, and so did my children. There was a lot of good in our world related to the exchange of ideas, friendship, food and customs. The role of women was quite diverse and expanded as I grew older.

The ERA still had not passed, however, and it rankled me more and more as I could see that women were not equal.

Then women entered politics, some of them wonderful role models. They have continued to push for equality. And a black man was elected president.

At last, in my retirement years, I thought a woman could be President.

Of course she had to be very experienced, very bright, a unique woman indeed.

Much of the country hated our black president, and I could see that they would hate a woman even more.

And the ERA is not even mentioned these days.

Women are not equal.

Women are not equal, even though many raise families alone and struggle to keep food on the table.

When women retire, they are punished for being women again in every Social Security check they receive. When they were working, they got paid less, and when they retire, their Social Security is also less for equivalent jobs.

I am sorry that I lied to my daughters. I should have told them that they would never be equal in this country, and that men will not even recognize or acknowledge it. Only boys can grow up to be President in my lifetime, possibly theirs as well.

Please share this with your friends and relatives so this sorry lie will be eradicated.

We deserve the truth as well as equality.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 20, 2017, in feminism, politics/class inequality, sexism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. “What happens to a dream deferred?”

    Watching the inauguration was a painful day and its memory remains a painful reminder of “what might have been”. For many it was one of the most hope-less days — of many days when hope had once reigned supreme.

    I was not even old enough to vote in this election … but like prosperous nations whose strength and might cyclically waxes, wanes and sometimes fades entirely – I wonder where we are in the cycle of seeing a woman elected to our highest office. This is the closest we have ever been – but will this be the closest we will ever come? Who will have the experience, fortitude and pedigree to wage this battle again? Will I have to tell the disbelieving ears of my own children of the “woman who once ran” and “came so close”? Will Hillary’s narrative become a story of lost lore in the land of “do you remembers”? What will come of the women who lost their faith and the girls who no longer believe?

  2. A slow progression of equal rights does not represent a lack thereof.
    This is quite a poetic autobiography and moving story, but the involvement of Hillary Clinton did not feel to directly correlate with the content (other than her “ability” to become president one day). Firstly, Clinton had the most votes, but it was the Electoral College that imbalanced (or balanced?) the voting results per region. So this is not an issue of sexism. Secondly, there were a number of people who did not vote for her based on past political choices, ethics, and policy. Several these individuals would have encouraged a woman to become president, but just not this woman. It is not an issue to take as a personal attack to women, rather a certain group of people preferring one candidate over another.
    During the NPR news coverage of the election, there was a sound bit which was replayed often during breaks. I remember very clearly a woman stating, “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, then I will know I am able to do anything.” It broke my heart. No one should limit themselves to the abilities of another. We are in a modern age with some inequality all around. Fight hard and prove for yourself that you can do anything.

  3. Do you really believe that no one voted for Clinton because she is a woman? I would suspect, but no one seems to question, that sexist voting was overwhelmingly in her favor. Does anybody have the numbers?

  4. We live in a world and society that women will never be as equal to men. No matter how much we tell ourselves and how time passes and things tend to get better, women will never be equal to men. At least not soon. Just like you I have never wanted to be a president, but the thought that I could be one one day was what gets me to be confident. I was and am extremely disappointed that Hillary Clinton did not get to be president. It’s so disappointing to know that Hillary Clinton had so much history to do with politics, but lost against Donald Trump that is a man that won with no political history. That just comes to show that women will never be equal to men, even when we live in a society where we have much more opportunities now than what women had back then.

  5. I don’t believe Hillary Clinton wasn’t elected due to her gender. Sure, there was a number of voters who voted against her based off of that, but the campaign she ran implied that if she were elected president, things wouldn’t change and she would just continue Obama’s regime. Ironically, because the people wanted change, she wasn’t elected the president. With Trump as our new president, we’re definitely going to get change, even if it is negative, and it’s going to bring about a strong response from the people. Women aren’t equal here, but we’re gradually getting there. With each generation comes a prominent female role model in a field women didn’t dare pursue before. We are still in a stage of development, and one day we will have a woman be president, perhaps driven by this past election itself. We have already witnessed the Women’s March on Washington inspired by the results of the election, and proof that women haven’t given up. Nationwide, women are demanding to be heard.

  6. This woman describing how she grew up believing that it’s an equality between the genders, but that this was a lie. In the society in the United States I believe that it’s a better gender equality than it has ever been before, still the society has a long way to go. Apparently, men have a higher salary in general, and gets leader opposition more often than women. For me, who is a Norwegian resident, I like to compere and see differences among the countries. One of the things I see is that it’s a more negative view and the stereotypes targeting the women here in the US than in Norway. I will say that even though I’m not the biggest fan of our prime minister, Norway has a woman as a prime minister and it’s not our first time to have a woman governing our country. And as the author of this article describes, they US still has a long way to go before their first woman president. Maybe Norway is doing better with the equality part because the population and Media has seen that it’s possible and actually more and more common to see women rule the biggest companies in Norway and having high salaries.

    My opinion is that I hope women will get more opportunities and more respect. The US has a lot of immigration, talented and intelligent women from all around the world are coming to the US to work and create something. Even though it’s frustrating that the US didn’t get a woman as the President, I believe that the US soon will. It’s important to believe that it once will happened. And when that day comes, I will celebrate.

  7. I was also always told I could be anything I wanted. I didn’t know I wasn’t going to be treated as an equal until people told me I wouldn’t. My first job was in a theater, where I was payed equally to the guys I worked with. That was mandatory because it was a school theater and their students are supposed to be treated equally. I was working in the theater when a boy from the school said something sexist because I was painting and thats what girls should do in theater (even though I could run every sound and light board int he theater, lift 100lb easily, and hang lights from 40feet in the air). I called him out on it, faced him head on. And after that he was not allowed in the theater again (my theater teacher banned him after hearing what he said and saw me defending myself and the other girls in theater). My second job was working on a farm, where I was one of 5 women and one man working on the farm. I also got equal pay here. I have always demanded equal rights and respect form everyone. I decided to attempt the impossible and move to Hollywood to become a director. There are few and far between women in the production part of the entertainment industry, let alone directors. I’ve never been afraid to face a challenge, and I hope to help pave the way for other females attpenxing to enter the industry. I still believe I can be anything I want, because to this day, everyone in my life continues to fight with me for women equal rights.

  8. Pirre Katriina Blom

    In the year 2000, when I was ten years old, a woman called Tarja Halonen became a president of my country, Finland. She was a liked leader throughout her presidency, which lasted for 12 years. In Finland, the length of a presidency term is six years and two terms is the maximum that a president can be in office. According to a 2002 straw poll in Helsingin Sanomat – the largest subscription newspaper in Finland and the Nordic countries – her satisfaction rate was up to 89 %.

    From a ten-year-old to the age of 22, I was living in a country that’s leader was a woman (at one point there was a female prime minister as well) believing in total gender equality. Now, at the age of 27 after having traveled and seen the world, I can truly appreciate how exceptional that was; it was something that had never happened before, it changed our national identity and was a big step for gender equality, which was not at a bad state before either; Finnish women won the right to vote and stand as candidates in elections 111 years ago.

    Coming from a family of intelligent, independent, strong but also nurturing female role models around me – as well as learning equality by the example of our national policies – shaped me as a person and made me believe that gender does not determine capabilities or capacities. Women can become presidents and excellent presidents too. It has already happened and can certainly happen again, even in the US. Let’s not forget – even though it does not change anything for now – but Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote.

  9. I admire the people who are hopeful that there will be a woman president here in the US within the foreseeable future. However, it seems to me that one of the strongest contenders was rejected in favor of an obnoxious, patriarchal chauvinist in the last election. Like many others, I find it extremely depressing and worrying that such disrespect towards women, the oppressed, the poor, and immigrants was rewarded by almost half the voters in the nation.

    Many other countries have had female prime ministers and heads of state who have governed every bit as well, if not better, than their male counterparts. I have had the benefit of working with female CEO’s and managers and have always found their particular perspective to be enlightening and informative. It is without question that women in positions of authority can bring harmony in leadership where it is easier for men to intimidate and patronize.

    The United States still seems to be uncomfortable with strong female leaders, as Hilary Clinton was accused of being aggressive and brash whereas President Trump was celebrated as an “authentic” and “refreshing” voice of truth for demonstrating some of the same behaviors. Perhaps we should look across the Atlantic to close allies such as Britain and Germany who have had the progressive vision to trust their leadership to capable and smart women, such as the head of the EU, Angela Merkel.

    I would love to share your optimism, but I don’t see that much has changed in the last 50 years.

  10. I can relate to this article so much. I have been told my whole life that girls can do anything boys do both directly and indirectly, but as a woman in science, I wished I were warned about the hardship that comes with fitting in a male-dominant workforce.

    I feel like even though it is not a reality we should keep telling kids that they can be or do whatever they want to do. Because if both girls and boys are brought up that way, maybe they will be able to finally make the society change to fit their visions instead of letting society make their visions to fit in.

  11. I feel sorry for women In This county. No one women is equal to men here. And this is a fact. We are lied to as children about what we can and cannot be and I don’t think that’s very fair. We are given lower pay just because we are women and we are less likely to get a job if a man is working for the same job. Women work hard and are very smart, but still, just because we are women we are looked down on. I hope in the future, we learn to have an equal veiw of eachother and be able to accept a woman president just as we accept a white male president. To do this, we have to let go of the past, and create a future that does exactly what we tell our children. That you can be whatever you want to be. Man or woman.

  12. it is disappointing, isn’t it? I was told I could earn a really high wage but getting a degree. that was a lie too – no one ever wanted to pay me a decent salary because I am a woman and, in the end, no one would employ me full time! so now I’m really determined to earn what I’m worth through self employment. we’re only as equal as we’re allowed to be!

  13. She didn’t lie to her daughters, she gave them hope and a reason to fight for equality. She is being blindsided by steps towards equality vs equality. One day maybe in her daughters lifetime’s there will be a female president and one day we will become equal with our male counterparts. Just because america votes for a female president doesn’t mean that we have reached equality. There are many steps to take towards equality and it doesn’t just happen by putting one woman, in one position of power, in one government, in world largely governed by men; Its like having like having a scapegoat to distract the masses from real issues. It takes being equal in all sectors of life and not just having a female scapegoat to point at to yell “look equality” when issues between the sexes come to light.

  14. “Women are not equal”: a harsh but true statement.
    The title is eloquent. As if it could have been though, as women were equal somehow.
    Women´s march in USA and worldwide are an expression of the fact that there is a wide gap between the desirable and the current situation… The post election march accepts who is in power but questions his sayings and his accusations of sexual offenses.
    It seems the #LGBT section and the Climate section were already removed from the white house page, as soon as Trump swore in. He seems ready to build the wall, and such stuff. Opponents are not just women, but as women they are “minorities”, sadly seen as “not equal”.
    Great post, Georgia… Best wishes! 🙂

  15. I think that it’s very interesting in this post how she talks about how she thought that she was equal to men for most of her life – or at least consciously allowed herself to believe that. Her acceptance of her own “equality” to men brings up an important point for all women to understand. Thankfully this point may now be easier to understand, then when the author of this post grew up, because we do have some wonderful female role models in politics and other important fields that are male dominated But I think that she brings up an important idea – the idea that as women we have a responsibility to not think that we are equal “enough” to men, or that we allow ourselves to think we’re equal, when we know we aren’t. As women we need to at least recognize the fact that we are not equal, because if we find ourselves thinking that we are “equal enough” then we will never end up truly equal and through that seemingly harmless white lie we end up perpetuating an androcentric society.

  16. Society, men and even our Creator have been unfair to women.

    It is good for Hillary that she did not win. Otherwise, every day, every second, besides being a President, she would have to….. prove that she is….. as good as men. Trump has only to be a good or great President !!

  17. Let’s hope that this so-called populist movement that swept Trump into power turns out to be the last gasp of the 20th century straight white male dominated society with all its racism and sexism and xenophobia.

    • Hope so.

      If he actually does do something to help the working class, I will be glad. But I hope he does it without the racism, sexism and xenophobia… Or blowing up the world.

    • Ken you are dead wrong!

      Populism has very little to do with White men, racism, sexism or xenophobia. I know this is how you people on the left see the world. We are all a bunch of “deplorables.”. Btw, I am Black male.

      Could it be Ken that many of us simply have a different view of the matter? Perhaps we love our country and our Constitution. I for one do not like being told to think and behave in a certain manner. The Bill of Rights is very precious to me. My people were denied these very precious rights for centuries.

      I am supremely confident that a woman will soon be elected President of this great nation. It will be in our lifetime. It is so very sad that the left refused to accept that they ran an awful candidate at a time in history when the American people clearly signaled that did not want such a person.

      The worst thing I see occurring in our country today is the left is engaging in the worst form of what I call soft fascism. You accuse those of us who dare to express a difference of opinion of being “intolerant.” Yet, the Bill of Rights expressly guarantee ALL Americans the right to Freedom of Speech. You meanwhile seek to silence people. You seek to impose your views through intimidation and coercion.

      My father fought in the Korean War only to return home to Jim Crow and be treated as a second class citizen. Over 20 years he served in the US Marine Corp. He died a proud Marine believing in the hope, dreams, and promises of America. He did live enjoy most of them. Like him, I will NEVER surrender them to a group of people who have little regard for anyone other than their own selfish interest.

      We are not going anywhere Ken. We will never allow you and people like you to destroy the greatest and most beautiful nation of all time. We don’t have to agree on everything. But, we must respect that people have the right to speak freely and dissent. This is NOT the old USSR and it never will be.

      The only people who hate freedom are those who hate truth.

      God Bless America.

      • Left and right need to communicate better since the left IS populist and always has been.

        I’m totally for creating jobs and good pay, and will do what I can to help in that way. Infrastructure funding, living wages… Just no sexism, racism, xenophobia.

        Sexism, racism, xenophobia: That’s what people are protesting.

      • Honestly I don’t even see how your reply relates to my comment at all. You seem to have anticipated a whole lot of meaning without actually reading the words.

    • “Honestly I don’t even see how your reply relates to my comment at all. You seem to have anticipated a whole lot of meaning without actually reading the words.”

      You are the one who explicitly stated that this “so-called” populist movement” that elected Trump was an embodiment of racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

      But, how can that be so when 53% of women actually voted FOR Mr. Trump?

      How can this be so when the same people who voted for President Obama in MI, Wisc, OH, PA in 2008, 2012 switched to Mr Trump in large numbers in 2016? Did they overnight become racist?

      As for last gasp…I scoff at the notion. Quite the contrary. In my humble opinion, this election the progressive left’s Stalingrad. Like the mighty German Army of WW2, you have been running roughshod over everyone. Thinking you are both superior and invincible. Bullying, intimidating, name calling, labeling, silencing,….even stiffing free speech in a nation governed by the Bill of Rights.

      On November 8th, you were dealt a mighty defeat. Like the Germans in WW2, you still have a lot of fight left. But, without question, this election is a turning point. Americans are saying NO MORE to your tactics. Your views are fine. You can express them as freely as you please. They are welcome AND respected. But, likewise so must be ours.

      As an aside. Just this week the Clinton Global Initiative, part of the Clinton Foundation, closed it doors! Donations dried up. Not one word in the liberal media. Nothing. Nothing on CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC…This organization took in tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and organizations including the Saudis and other not so women friendly (i.e sexist) governments from the Middle East. Your candidate. Well I guess when she lost they realized there would be no pay for play. But, yet it is Mr. Trump who is the scoundrel? Hmmm.

      Maybe the reason you cannot see how my reply relates to your comment is because you cannot see the trees for the forest.

    • “Isn’t it ‘forest for the trees” Huggy?”

      Yes, you are correct. The majority of women did vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, JD, Phd RN US Senator,Sec of State, Master of the Universe..etc

      Anyhow, we will continue whipping your asses. Enjoy!

  18. In this article she talks about how her teachers and other adults told her she can be anything she wants, even a president. She grew up with that mindset but the older she got the more she realized that was impossible. She ended up working as something she didn’t want to be and is a wife with two little girls. She told her daughters that they can be whatever they wanted to be when they grew up. She thought to herself and realize it wasn’t true at all. Her daughters can’t be whatever they wanted to be. In the United States, men and women aren’t equal. There is no equal rights for women. So then she feels sorry for lying to her daughters that life isn’t fair for women and that all of us should think that way too.

    In my point of you she gave up the vision of trying to have equal rights for women in America. I think about how long it took to just have women voting rights. It took 72 years for women to be able to vote. That is a VERY long time. People could of easily gave up during the beginning years but didn’t. They stuck to it till it happen.

    I say women can be anything in the world if they put their mind to it. Hillary Clinton almost made it! Yeah she didn’t win but she just gave us women more hope that anything can be possible. She almost made it to the top. Maybe in the future there will be more women running for president and eventually one of them will become one.

    Same thing with Sonia Satomayor, first of all she is Latina and she is one of the most powerful women in the U.S.! She is in the justice supreme court where no one could of imagine her becoming someone big.

    There are many other women that believed that could be anything and didn’t give up on that dream. So I say this, equal rights for women is possible it might take 2 years or 200 years. We will need to work hard and not give up to make that dream into a reality

  19. I believe you will see a woman president of the USA within the next two USA presidential elections. And I believe people can be anything they want to be, but it always comes down to whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t, either way you will be right.

  20. I wish Hillary was a little more healthier as she does not look game enough for another shot at presidency four years down the line. There, however, is a ready option in the form of outgoing First Lady. I hope America elects her and thereby a woman president at least the next time around.

  21. A woman becoming the president of a nation doesn’t demonstrate gender equality. We had women prime minister and president in India, but that didn’t make women in India equal to men. Gender crimes against women are still rampant in India.
    We have separate do’s & don’ts for boys and girls even when they are just kids! Our age-old traditions and education must change to give women equal respect and recognise them as equal partners in our homes, neighborhoods, societies and nations.

    • That’s true. But not electing A woman, for largely sexist reasons, shows that we haven’t moved forward enough.

      The fact that sexism is in part behind The election of DJT can be seen in the fact that Hillary has been hugely popular whenever she is not seeking power. The minute she six power her popularity punches. And people in America don’t have a hard time liking powerful men, but they do have a hard time liking powerful women. Which means her likability rating plummets too. And Americans tend to elect people they like.

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