When columns such as Sarah Janecek’s “Hillary’s way is not the feminist way,” published in MinnPost last week, belittle other women and minimize their accomplishments, all women are set back, and the glass ceiling remains impenetrable.
This year, we have an incredible woman running for the U.S. presidency. Not only will Hillary Rodham Clinton lead our country with the collective strength and experience of 35 years fighting for America’s families, but her campaign gives us the chance to finally take the “No Girls Allowed” sign off the White House. That’s one barrier we’d be proud to help break by supporting Hillary.
As a young woman applying to law schools, Hillary was told by a Harvard Law professor, “We don’t need any more women at Harvard.” So she went to Yale, where she was one of only 27 women in a class of 235 students.
As a new lawyer, Hillary contemplated the idea of practicing courtroom law; she was told by a male colleague that she could never choose such a path because she lacked a wife to look after her. When she was busy or in trial, he asked, who would be there to make sure she had clean socks?
Hillary balanced career and barrier breaking
These barriers did not stop Hillary — or even slow her down. Throughout her life, she has balanced her extraordinary career with her family and, in so doing, she broke right through these barriers. She was the first student to be the keynote speaker at a Wellesley College commencement and became a voice of her generation. She is the first former first lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate. She was the first New York senator to serve on the Armed Services Committee. On Jan. 8, she was the first woman to win a presidential primary.
Throughout her life, Hillary has delivered for women, their families and all Americans. She has broken ground on health care, child care and education reform. She has worked to increase the minimum wage and provide tax relief for the middle class. She helped families, our first-responder heroes and small businesses recover after Sept. 11, and she has demonstrated hands-on leadership in the current economic downturn.
She has been a brilliant leader and has done the practical work of turning causes into legislation, barriers into opportunities. All across the country, women like Hillary are pushing those same boundaries. Because of their efforts, we now have more women leaders in business than ever before, more women in Congress than ever before and more women governors than ever before.
We think that no one — man or woman — is better situated to confront the challenges of the next eight years. In our lifetimes, this country has come a long way. Let’s keep it moving forward.
This article was co-written by three professional businesswomen — Amy K. Rotenberg of Minneapolis, Lois Quam of St. Paul and Karen Wilson of Minneapolis — and Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner of White Bear Lake. All four are members of the Minnesota steering committee of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
Want to add your voice?
If you’re interested in joining the discussion by writing a Community Voices article, email Don Effenberger at deffenberger [at] minnpost [dot] com.