Two Steps Forward…

We_Can_Do_It!

With the American primaries heating up there has been a fair bit of coverage and discussion on women’s voting patterns and in particular, Hilary Clinton’s popularity with women voters. Initially I was surprised to learn that Bernie Sanders was gaining traction with young women.  Really, a seventy-four year old man could better represent women than a… wait a minute, sixty-eight year old woman.

The truth is, it’s a bit of a stretch that either of them really understand how young women think. It’s also a bit of a stretch to tell them how they should vote, period. If we older women really want to establish that women have the right to make their own choices, then we have to reconsider telling women, young or old how they should do anything, including vote. That we would tell them they should vote for someone based on nothing more than their gender is even more ridiculous.

I was a little embarrassed for feminists this week. When 78 year old Madeleine Albright and 81 year old Gloria Steinem weighed into the American political debate  they made me cringe.  They didn’t come across as particularly wise and they certainly didn’t seem to think that young women could think for themselves. I’ve always considered myself a feminists, but it seems my definition differs from these women in some significant ways.

For me, it meant that despite the fact that I was a young black woman, I could be a political assistant, not secretary, on Parliament Hill.  It was that same thinking that lead me to believe that I could be an equally effective lobbyist for national and international corporations a few years later. The fact that I was often the only woman in the room, not to mention the only black person, never phased me. I knew as much or more about how government worked and I could strategize with the best of them.  It never took long for them to stop wondering why I was in charge of their lobbying efforts. Amazing what happens when you are a strong, self-confident woman.

Being a feminists has always meant to me, that I had the right to pursue whatever dreams, positions or electoral preferences I had. It’s a pity if that that definition has changed and small wonder that young women today have a hard time associating themselves with the concept of feminism.

Soon enough the furor over the poorly stated comments of Albright and Steinem will die down and Americans will be back to considering their options based on the quality of the candidate rather than their sex. If nothing else, I and the rest of the world can only hope that when the time comes, whoever the democrats choose, they won’t be facing Donald Trump, because he is far more of a threat to women, minorities and religious freedom than either Bernie or Hilary.

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5 responses to “Two Steps Forward…

  • Well said, Debra. Madeline Albright published an op-ed piece in the New York Times a few days later apologizing for her remarks.

    However, after her “boys” comment in that interview Steinem continued by stating that women were more active as feminists than ever before. That was not reported as the media jumped on the “boys” comment. In a follow-up, Steinem said, ““What I had just said on the same show was the opposite: young women are active, mad as hell about what’s happening to them, graduating in debt, but averaging a million dollars less over their lifetimes to pay it back,” she continued. “Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before.”

    I’m angry when I speak to young women and they rush to claim they are not feminists. They are so afraid that people will think they are radical. How could a woman not be a feminist? Being a feminist means that you support women. It’s a simple as that.

  • Very well put. Politicians are not only out of touch with young females but also what the majority of the people want/need. As a black male in corporate America I can identify with you being the only black person in the room or company. I find myself explaining why black men are afraid of police and why black lives matter. I feel that the presidential candidates need some one to explain young women’s needs, why there is a fear of the police, and what minorities need and expect in there candidates. Great post

  • Well said, Debra agree with you. Don’t forget that both you and I have been women in rooms full of men on a high lever. Once they realized we were intelligent we had the upper hand. It would have been much harder for us to be men than women.

    People all over the world are fed up with their politicians not serving them. That’s why Sanders and Trump won in New Hampshire yesterday. The republican candidates are scary. Cruz, Rubio and Carson are actually worse than Trump from an ideological point of view, which says a lot. Let’s see what happens with Michael Bloomberg. If he runs as an independent candidate he should, minimum have the “Ross Perot effect” and prevent the republican candidate from getting elected. We can live with Sanders in the White House but any of the republican candidates would be a disaster not just for the US but the world.

  • I absolutely agree with on all that you said. I too stretched beyond the bonds of the female ranks to become an executive. All trepidation melted away about who I was when I allow my leadership skills to shine.

    I fear we have lost our way. My hope is we Americans can see past all the rancor and hype and make an thought educated decision. 😕

  • Hear hear! I was completely embarrassed by the comments of Albright and Steinem. After all, these women never came forward with the same tired argument for Carly Fiorina, Condoleeza Rice or Sarah Palin. I have long held that the feminist movement is partisan and an embarrassment to the gender. You can’t have it both ways… demand to be treated as a special class is completely opposite to the idea of equality.

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